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ftukrs af JfnMa 



CLE. : M.A. (Oxford) : LL.D. (Cambridge) 

mAdhava rAo sindhia 





- Hjlh fll IHJDIAH ^MTIE^ 

Prepared for Sir William Wilson Hunter's 


flDabbava IRao Sinbbia 

By H. G. KEENE, CLE., M.A. 






Preface . . 5-9 

Pedigree of Sindhia 10 

Chap. I. Introductory r n~33 

II. Sindhia at Panipat 34-57 

III. From the Restoration of the Emperor to the 

Peace of Salbai . . . . . . 58-86 

IV. Delhi Politics under the Restored Empire . 87-103 
V. Sindhia's First Administration . . . 104-131 

VI. Sindhia and Ghulam Kadir .... 132-144 

VII. Sindhia and General de Boigne . . . 145-162 

VIII. Sindhia in Apogee 163-181 

IX. Last Days, Death, and Character. . . 182-203 

Index • 205-207 


The orthography of proper names follows the system adopted by 
the Indian Government for the Imperial Gazetteer of India. That 
system, while adhering to the popular spelling of very well-known 
places, such as Punjab, Poona, Deccan, &c, employs in all other 
cases the vowels with the following uniform sounds : — 

a, as in woman : a, as in father : », as in kin : % as in intrigue : 
0, as in cold : w, as in bwll : u, as in rwle. 


In the following pages an attempt has been made to 
interest the reader in a remote and, at first sight, un- 
attractive subject. The excuse is hinted on the title- 
page. The man of whom we treat was an Indian 
ruler of exceptional capacity in times of exceptional 
difficulty. Born before the sack of Delhi by Nadir 
Shah he lived to within ten years of Lord Lake's occu- 
pation of the same imperial city. His life, therefore, 
exactly corresponds to the hour between the darkness 
of anarchy and the dawn of order, while his labours 
helped to make it pass. Himself a lover of order, he 
did what in him lay to clear away the worst havoc of 
war and rapine, and the consequent demoralisation: 
and to prepare the shattered fabric of society for 
restoration and reform. Hindustan, by which we are 
to understand the Northern Provinces of the Mughal 
Empire, had for a time been civilised and prosperous. 
Ta vernier, writing about 1669, speaks of Shah Jahan, 
then lately dead, as ' that great king during whose 
reign there was such a strictness in the civil 
government, and particularly for the security of the 


highways, that there was never any occasion to put 
any man to death for robbery/ A hundred years 
] ater it was observed that ' The country was torn to 
pieces by civil wars and groaned under every species 
of domestic confusion. Villainy was practised in 
every form ; all law and religion were trodden under 
foot, the bonds of private friendship and connection, 
as well as of society and government, were broken ; 
and every individual, as if in the midst of a forest of 
wild beasts, could rely upon nothing but the strength 
of his own arm.' (Dow ; quoting native authority.) 
Such was the moral chaos that had followed the 
decline of the Empire ; and, if the British rule has 
obliterated those marks of ruin and brought back 
civilisation, it is in some degree to Sindhia that 
the subjects of that rule are indebted for the first 
preparatory step. 

Short as is the narrative, it has been found im- 
possible to avoid the introduction of some extraneous 
matter. A mere biographical memoir, even if the 
materials of such were forthcoming, would not convey 
much instruction or pleasure to the reader. The 
French historical doctrine of the milieu may have 
been somewhat over-indulged of late years. In Mr. 
Russell Lowell's Essay on Milton we have an amusing 
account of a learned Professor's biography of that 
poet ; in which historical pages are rarely diversified 
by occasional appearances of Milton: and the accom- 
plished critic says that the reader is only reconciled 
when he calls to mind that this fair-haired stranger 


is, in fact, the protagonist. In the drama before us 
the protagonist is almost identified with the scenes 
in which he moved and the events in which he bore 
an influential part. He belongs at once to the faded 
Court of the Mughals and to the busy camp of the 
Marathas : and the whole of his career is visible in 
the light of such relations. A man like Sindhia has 
no private life ; and to understand what he was we 
must be shown what he did. 

We must therefore endeavour to realise what was 
the Empire at whose agony our hero assisted and to 
whose estate he, for a time, administered; and we 
must seek some samples of the anarchy from which 
he delivered Hindustan. At the same time, we shall 
have to remember that Sindhia was not, originally, a 
native of Hindustan ; and we must study, however 
briefly, the nature of that strange community in 
Southern India which, taking up the lapsed greatness 
of the old kingdom of Karnata, almost succeeded in 
uniting the entire Indian peninsula in a universal 
Hindu Empire. 

To do all this requires that we should be prepared 
to find copious and variegated materials digested into 
a result which may be found undesirably narrow. 
A small book may be found hard to read — as it, 
proverbially, is to write. 

Our foundations have gone wide if not deep. Among 
the authorities to which those desirous of further 
information, or extended treatment, may profitably 
refer, may be named the undermentioned : — 


(i) History of the Mahrattas. James Grant Duff. 
3 vols. 1826. 

(2) Memoir of Central India. Sir John Malcolm. 
2 vols. 1820. 

(3) Memoirs of Col. Jas. Skinner, C.B. Baillie 
Fraser. 2 vols. 1851. 

(4) Memoire du Comte de Boigne (by his son). 
Chamb^ri. 1829. 

(5) Siar-ul-mut&kharin (Ghulam Hosain Khan, 
translated by a French Creole employed in the office 
of Warren Hastings : his name was Raymond, and 
his notes are interesting). 3 vols. 

(6) Tdrikh-i-Muzafari. (Untranslated MS. by a 
Muhammadan gentleman in the service of the famous 
Muhammad Raza Khan, Naib Suba of Bihar, whose 
title, 'Muzafar Jang/ is preserved in the title.) 
Some account of these works will be found in 
Dowson's Elliot, viii. 

(7) Col. Malleson's Final French Struggles (London, 
1884) gives a good account of the doings of Gen. 
de Boigne and some of the minor European ad- 

(8) Constant reference is made in the text to the 
Imperial Gazetteer of India; and the spelling of 
Oriental words is taken, generally, from the spelling 
adopted in the xivth vol., or Index, of that valuable 

[The account of the campaign of 1 760-1 is chiefly 
derived from the narrative of Pandit Kasi Rai 
(iii, Asiatic Researches, 91 ff.). The writer was a 


Secretary of the Oudh Nawab, and present, both in 
the preliminary negotiations and on the field of battle : 
his description is remarkable as a unique narrative 
of military events by a Hindu civilian *. 

In Forrest's Selections from the State-papers of the 
Government of India, 3 vols., Calcutta, 1890, will be 
found a valuable series of minutes and despatches 
by Warren Hastings. See, also, Captain Trotter's 
monograph in this series.] 

1 A detailed account of the campaign, based on a collation of 
this and other contemporary narratives, will be found in my Fall 
of ihe Moghul Empire (3rd edition, 1887). Holkar's point of view 
will be seen to have been occasionally taken in Grant Duff (vol. ii, 
pp. 140-156). 

The omission to cite Tod's Rajasthan may be thought to demand 
explanation. It is a noble book, full of priceless information and 
inspired by a fine enthusiasm. But this very inspiration renders 
the author an unsafe guide in regard to the relations and dealings 
of the Rajputs with other tribes. 

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The Hindu confederacy of which the subject of this 
book was, in his time, a prominent member, indicates 
an episode in that perennial struggle which has been 
going on for eight centuries in India between the 
social and religious system of the Hindus and that of 
their Musalman compatriots. Neither Musalman nor 
Hindu society can be considered c national/ though, as 
earlier conquerors who have associated and assimilated 
with the original inhabitants, the Hindus naturally 
appear now to represent whatever may be found at 
all deserving the name of an Indian nationality. 

Maharashtra, meaning the tract bounded on the 
west by the ocean, on the north by the Narbada, on 
the east by the Wainganga, and on the south by the 
Krishna rivers, was a Hindu kingdom in the time of 
Hiuen Tsiang, the Chinese pilgrim (640 a.d.), of which 
the capital was at Kalyani, or Kalyan, near the 
modern city of Bombay. In the sixteenth century 
the Portuguese obtained a considerable footing in 
Maharashtra, of which fragments are still in existence, 
notably the town and territory of Goa. The people, 


however, had been known for some time from the 
name of their country : for the name Marked occurs 
in the history of Sultan Juna (or Muhammad Tughlak) 
who invaded Southern India in the middle of the 
fourteenth century ; and before long we find mention 
of them in connection with the Musalman kingdom of 
Bijapur. Yusaf c Adil Shah, the first of the c Adil 
Shahi dynasty, is said to have given command of 
1 2,000 infantry to a Hindu Chief from that country ; 
and in the reigns of his successors they freely shared 
in public employment. They were known as light 
cavalry, and they seem to have taught the Bijapur 
Musalmans that system of guerilla warfare to which 
the kingdom owed its ability to resist its enemies for 
nearly two hundred years. 

So much has this system of war been celebrated 
that we have fallen into a w T ay of thinking of the 
people of Maharashtra as all homogeneous and a mere 
tribe of predatory riders. The facts, however, do 
not altogether affirm this view. On the contrary we 
find them divided, like Hindu societies elsewhere, into 
distinct classes : the Brahmans, who have been the 
most distinguished in public affairs ; an ordinary class 
of fighting men claiming to be descended from 
Rajput immigrants ; the Kunbis, or agriculturists ; 
and a mixed multitude of townsmen and artisans, 
often called, locally, Shankarjdti, probably sprung from 
marriages between the pure Hindu immigrants and 
the aboriginal women. Their state appears to have 
at once adopted the character of a federal common- 


wealth and a military monarchy ; where the king was 
assisted by Brahman counsellors, and the rural Com- 
munes sent the flower of their young men to serve 
in a more or less embodied militia. These peasant 
warriors were despised by the arrogant and luxurious 
Muhammadans, both for their lack of pomp and 
splendour, and for something business-like and un- 
chivalrous in their manner of fighting. But those 
were the very qualities which led to the first successes 
of the people of Maharashtra when the Musalman 
power ran to seed. Could the Mughals have stayed 
their own degeneracy, and at the same time could they 
have employed the Marathas as the Cossacks and 
Uhlans of their unwieldy armies, they might have 
used them with irresistible effect in the conquest of 
the Deccan; and might, possibly, have succeeded in 
the scheme, in itself not unreasonable, of consolidating 
the whole peninsula of India into one Empire. 

But Dis aliter visum ; and when the great but 
mistaken attempt of the Emperor 'Alamgir, commonly 
known as Aurangzeb, had ended in disaster, the de- 
struction of the southern Musalman kingdoms only 
swept a clear field for the Maratha enterprise. Then 
they found the opportunity for which they had been 
so long waiting : they adopted wider aims, and a more 
imposing style ; adding to their direct possessions 
while they extended their indirect sway and influence 
in every direction. As this extension proceeded they 
organised their habits of levying contribution on the 
subjects of other States. At last their system of 


tribute came to spread over almost the whole of the 
peninsula. It was not so much an Empire as an 
Anti-empire. Let others, they seemed to say, under- 
take the task of administration and of watching for 
the welfare of the multitude. They will be making 
honey not for themselves; on their most prosperous 
towns and parishes, we will, without unnecessary 
violence or mischief, make our regular and understood 
claim of twenty-five per cent, of the revenues, surely 
not an exorbitant commission for abstaining from 
disturbing their enjoyment of life and property. ' Do 
thou/ said Virgil, ' remember, O Roman, to rule the 
peoples/ The Pax Maratica was founded on the 
opposite principle : — ' Take pay for not ruling.' 

The modern power of this extraordinary race arose 
in the reign of the Emperor Shah Jahan, and owed 
its origin to the strenuous efforts of that Mughal 
monarch to annex the territory of Bijapur and 
abolish its sovereignty. We need not here go into 
the detailed history of the Bijapur State ; it will be 
enough to say that it grew out of a satrapy of the old 
Southern Musalman Empire of the so-called 'Bahmani' 
dynasty, which became independent under a Turkman 
governor named Yusaf c Adil about the end of the 
fifteenth century a.d. In the time of Shah Jahan 
the nominal ruler was a minor, and the Regency was 
for some time held by a Maratha captain, named 
Shahji Bhonsla, who aided the Emperor to overthrow 
the neighbouring power of the Nizam Shah, at 
Ahmadnagar, and is famous as the founder of the 


family afterwards elevated to a brief but bright 
eminence by his son. Shahji's great title to dis- 
tinction is that he was the father of the still more 
distinguished Sivaji. 

That remarkable man went early to a far greater 
length than his father ; possessed himself of forts, 
organised a regularly-paid army, both horse and foot, 
and finally assumed the functions and insignia of a 
king. He shook off his connection with Bijapur and 
with the Mughals ; and laid the foundation of that 
inveterate system of depredation and hostility which, 
under his successor, finally wore out the courage of 
Aurangzeb and introduced the germ of decay into his 
empire. His grandson, having been in his youth 
a captive at court, adopted Mughal manners : and the 
power of the State fell into the hands of a dynasty 
of Brahman ministers under whom the civil adminis- 
tration became organised, and the military system 
was raised to much pomp and splendour. The robes 
of empire now hung not ungracefully on the limbs 
of a Hindu, and one of two things was bound to 
happen ; either there would be a new empire, doomed 
to rise and fall after the usual manner, or a federal 
India must be born, under the protection of a new 
and foreign power. The subject of the present 
narrative becomes the necessary man of an epoch of 
transition when this point was still undetermined ; a 
transition between guerilla foraging and scientific 

Madhava Bao, or ' Madhoji,' Sindhia has been 

1 6 mAdhava rAo sindhia 

described, on good authority, as { a statesman and 
soldier of almost unsurpassed ability ' (Imp. Gazetteer 
of India, v. 230). He rose to rule in Hindustan 
without altogether losing touch with the distant and 
difficult politics of the Maratha State. Like other 
unusually successful men, he was partly the child of 
his time and partly its creator. Ordinary average 
success is often produced by the qualities of the 
commoner class, such as docility and power of adapta- 
tion ; but this mans was another, and a fairer kind 
of success. He changed the habits of men, gave a 
new direction to their thoughts, and prepared a social 
revolution. He did so because his aims were clear 
and reasonable, definitely conceived and resolutely 
pursued, without ignoring the continuity of human 

But, before proceeding to support these claims by 
an examination of Madhava's record, it will be de- 
sirable to say a few words concerning the scene on 
which he played his part, and the events which pre- 
ceded his appearance. India, in his time, was 'a 
geographic expression/ just as, then and long after, 
was the case with Italy. The Alpine and Subalpine 
region of the peninsula was peopled by hardy races 
with whom he, as much as possible, avoided contact. 
From the Sutlej river to the Narbada is a bilateral 
region sending mighty streams to the Arabian sea 
and the bay of Bengal. Within its points are old 
nations, with their forts, and cities, and fields, where 
the shepherd and the husbandman contend as in the 


days of Cain and Abel. Beyond the Narbada is a 
further region of hill and plain and river, inhabited 
by races of less contentious habits and a more recent 
civilisation. In both of these last-named regions 
our hero played a conspicuous part for more than a 

India's three great natural divisions, thus hastily 
delineated, are described by modern European geo- 
graphers as cardinal sections ; and they are, moreover, 
known to Orientals ; by whom, however, they are 
more usually subdivided, the subdivisions being 
called by many names. The first contains several 
regions ; omitting Afghanistan, Kashmir, and the 
Punjab, which will not enter into our narrative, 
there remain two to be specified in the lower, or 
alluvial, portion. The northernmost is known as 
Hindustan, a name often given by Europeans to the 
whole peninsula, but reserved by the natives to the 
tract bordered on the north by the Sutlej river, and 
on the south by the Chambal. Its eastern slope, 
between the Ganges and the Jumna, is known as the 
Doab, or, as might be said in Latin, ' Mesopotamia/ 
but it also includes the Trans -Gangetic Provinces of 
Katahr (or Eohilkhand) and Oudh. South of the 
Chambal, and partially draining to the west, is the 
hill-country of the Aravalli and Vindhya ranges, in 
whose embraces lie the states of the Rajputs, old 
tribes of the Hindus driven thither before the early 
Musalman invaders. To the east of these, and south- 
ward to the Narbada, the country is called Central 



India; and here lie the original fiefs of M&lwa and 
Gwalior, acquired in the eighteenth century by the 
clans of Sindhia and Holkar and still held by the 
respective chiefs of those Houses. Still further to 
the eastward lie the minor provinces of Bhopal and 
Bundelkhand. The last region is south of the 
Narbadd, called in history * The Deccan ' ; containing 
likewise many provinces, divided by limits which 
have fluctuated as one dynasty or tribe has advanced 
or receded \ 

Nevertheless, throughout this vast and varied pen- 
insula, a tendency towards union has been observed 
in many stages of its history. Mythical monarchies 
of all India had floated vaguely in popular tradition 
when, in the sixteenth century, one of those move- 
ments so frequent in cold countries drew the ' Mughals ' 
from Kabul down upon the sunny south 2 . It cost 
them two hard struggles ; but scarcely was their 
empire consolidated under the great Akbar when the 
idea was revived of * bringing all India under one 
chhatri ' (umbrella, the symbol of Empire). 

The reduction of ambitious feudatories and rebel- 
lious officials once accomplished, the process began. 
Radiating from Agra and Delhi the emperors slowly 
extended their power: building their palaces at 

1 The name of 'Deccan* is as old as the Greek geographer 
Ptolemy. Etymologically, the word is Dakhin = ' South' (' right- 
hand * is the same in Sanskrit, and supposing the face to the East). 

2 For some account of this race and its conquests see the author's 

Sketch of the History of Hindostan. 


Allahabad, Ajniere, Lahore, and Kashmir. Neverthe- 
less, the Rajput Chiefs remained, as they remain to 
this day, virtually autonomous in their remote fast- 
nesses ; though two of their States became completely 
friendly and even feudatory to the Empire, showing 
the sincerity of their submission by giving their 
noblest sons to command in the Imperial armies and 
their fairest daughters to furnish brides for the 
Imperial households. In the Deccan, likewise, the 
Imperial arms made some genuine progress. The old 
Hindu kingdoms of that region had broken up, 
between the fourteenth and the sixteenth centuries, 
to be succeeded by a number of Musalman States which 
the Mughals, from Akbar onwards, were constantly 
battering and shattering, first reducing them to the 
tributary condition, and then rendering them mere 

In 1637 a further step was taken: Shah Jahan, 
the grandson of Akbar, destroying the Nizam Shahi 
dynasty of Ahmadnagar by complete annexation of 
the state over which that dynasty had ruled for 
nearly two centuries. In 1686 his son, c Alamgir, 
commonly known to Europeans as 'Aurangzeb,' 
carried on the same process against the c Adil Shahi 
dynasty of Bijapur. In the following year the last of 
the great Musalman States was overthrown, that of the 
Kutab-Shahi line in Golconda. The area of these 
conquered kingdoms went to form the new province, 
or Subah, of the Deccan, great part of which is still 
held, under the Sovereignty of the Queen Empress, 

B 2 


by the powerful vassal of the Crown who is popu- 
larly known as ' the Nizam/ and who is descended 
from the first Viceroy who shook off his dependence 
on the Empire. For it should be observed that, as 
the extension of the Mughal Empire was made with- 
out adequate means, so the process of integration was 
interrupted as soon as the central power began to 
relax ; and the contrary process of disintegration 
almost instantaneously set in, and acted with ex- 
treme rapidity. As happened a thousand years ago 
in the somewhat analogous case of the Karling 
Empire of Europe, each great satrapy became a 
separate nation in less than two generations after 
the Empire attained its full extent. 

The mention of these satrapies suggests another 
comparison. The Mughal Empire of India is, chrono- 
logically, not very far remote from modern times. 
It was seen in its glory by a school-fellow of Moliere ; 
the description of its glories fired the imagination of 
Milton; its palace-halls, but a few years ago, made 
ball-rooms for the present Heir-apparent to the British 
Empire ; its last representative has not been long 
dead. Yet that Empire was, in all essential charac- 
teristics, a fragment of the ancient world ; a counter- 
part, in all but its religious system, of the mighty 
monarchies of Babylon and Persia. There was the 
same awe -breathing distance between the grovelling 
subject and the exalted despot; the same sinister 
contrast between the squalor of the cottage and the 
splendour of the throne; the might of the monarch 


was haunted by the menace of the remote rebel and 
the shadow of the domestic traitor. In such an 
Empire there could be no 'Act of Settlement' or 
' Responsibility of Cabinets ' ; but the sovereign, after 
a longer or shorter period of uncontrolled despotism, 
falls into the insanity of power or drivels into the 
dotage of decay. Provinces fall off from their 
allegiance, the despot crushes, or is crushed ; at 
last he disappears, perhaps killed in battle, perhaps 
poisoned in a palace-intrigue. He is succeeded by a 
courtier, a slave, or one of his own fratricidal sons ; 
and the hideous business begins anew. In such 
revolutions the Empire is often weakened, sometimes 
quite dissolved. In its incoherent way, however, it 
comes together again, some old parts lost, some new 
members gained ; and once more the booty of conquered 
neighbours and the wealth wrung from helpless 
subjects are concentrated on the person and palace 
of the ruler. It is still a shifting scene of contrast, 
the monarch of one moment becomes the victim of 
another, or the puppet of an able minister. But 
always there remains the sinister glare of unbridled 
luxury and unprofitable decoration. The autocrat 
— no better, saner, or happier than the meanest of 
his peasants — swathes his perishable frame in brocade 
and jewelry, and takes his daily seat upon a couch 
of gold 1 ; surrounded by obsequious kinsmen and 
tributary princes. In ordered ranks beneath thd 

1 The throne of an oriental monarch takes the form of a square 
bedstead, on which he sits with crossed legs. 

22 mAdhava rAo sindhia 

elevated platform are marshalled the courtiers, minis- 
ters, generals, the chiefs of peace and war, and the 
messengers and representatives of those who are absent 
in the distant regions, ruling the provinces of the 
Empire or commanding its military forces. The same 
eternal picture was presented to Daniel the Hebrew, 
to Ctesias the Greek, to Ta vernier the French jewel- 
merchant, and Bernier the correspondent of Colbert. 
The last-named traveller visited almost all the great 
Musalman courts. He had seen the court of the ' Roi- 
Soleil,' the sumptuous Louis XIV, and those of the 
Sultans of Syria and Egypt ; and this is his account 
of the display that he found at that of the ' Great 

1 The king appeared, sitting upon his throne, in the 
bottom of the great hall of the Am-kas, splendidly 
apparelled. His vest was of white flowered satin 
and raised with a fine embroidery of gold and silk. 
His turban was of cloth of gold, having a bird worked 
upon it, like a heron, whose foot was covered with 
diamonds of an extraordinary bigness and value, with 
a great oriental topaz, which may be said to be 
matchless, shining like a miniature sun. A collar of 
great pearls hung about his neck and down to his 
breast, after the manner in which some of the heathen 
[Musalmans] wear here their rosaries for prayer. 
His throne was supported on six high pillars, or 
"feet, said to be of massive gold, and set with 
rubies, and emeralds, and diamonds. I am not able 
to tell you aright, either the number or the price of 


this mass of precious stones, because it is not possible 
to come near enough to count them or to judge of 
their purity and value. Only this I can say, that the 
big diamonds are there in profusion and that the 
throne is estimated to be worth four krors of rupis, 
each worth a demi-eeu 1 .' [This was the 'Peacock 
Throne' of Shah Jahan, the value of which, by 
Bernier's estimate, was ^"2,400,000 ; though Taver- 
nier, an expert, afterwards doubled the sum.] 'So 
that the throne is valued at forty millions of rupis . . . 
about sixty millions of francs. . . Beneath there ap- 
peared all the Omras in splendid apparel upon a 
raised ground shaded by a great canopy of purfled 
gold-cloth with golden fringes, enclosed by a silvei 
balister. The pillars of the hall were hung with 
tapestries, having a gold ground- work; and the 
ceiling was covered with canopies of flowered satin 
fastened with cords of red silk ornamented with 
tassels of silk, mixed with gold, that hung down from 

Such is Bernier's account of the throne and its 
surroundings. In another place he adds : ' Thence he 
sees beneath him the Lords, Rajas, and representative 
envoys, who are all standing upon a raised space 
enclosed with silver rails, with down-cast eyes and 
arms folded upon their breasts ; somewhat further off 
he sees the lesser lords, or Mansabddrs, also standing 
in the like posture of reverence; and, somewhat 

1 The rupee of those days was therefore worth no more than 
.fifteen pence. , 


further off still in the remaining part of the hall, &nd 
in the open court-yard, he can see a great crowd of 
the commonalty. For there it is that the king, every 
day about noon, gives universal audience.' This was 
a general lev^e, where the Badshah not only received 
his chiefs, but acted the old oriental part of the 
father of his people, sitting at his tent-door to ad- 
minister justice. It need hardly be added that much 
of the pageant was symbolical ; the sovereign's court 
was not a real court of law, and he had not much 
more personal connection with the administration 
than Her Majesty, with us, exercises in the ' Queen's 
Bench.' Nevertheless the peerage of the Amara and 
Mansabddrs mentioned by Bernier was a very real 
institution, and one whose reality contained an un- 
doubted germ of development. 

By 'omras' Bernier meant the courtiers, in especial 
favour and constant attendance, perhaps most con- 
ceivable to us as 'Ministers/ or ' Lords-in-waiting.' 
Their chief went by the title of Amir-ul-amara= 
premier noble, and was next to the Wazir in dignity; 
sometimes also in power, or even actually, in 
practice, superior. The Mansabddrs were nobles too, 
but of a more military character; whose rank was 
expressed by the number of men-at-arms that they 
were supposed to lead. In strict nomenclature these 
also were amirs if their patents were for more than 
500 horsemen ; above 5000 was the highest grade 
of all, reserved originally for princes of the blood. 
Of the ranks between these two limits there were, 


in Bernier's time, 580 nobles of which number 
about one-fifth consisted of Hindus, the remainder 
being either native Musalmans or immigrants of 
distinction from Persia and Central Asia, known in 
India, though not very accurately, as ' Mughals.' 

Ranking immediately after the princes of the blood 
and the great officials these mansabdars formed a 
military peerage like the paladins of Charlemagne or 
Cromwell's Major-Generals. But their titles were not 
meant to be hereditary, such transmission of grandeur 
being quite opposed to oriental notions. A black- 
smith or a water-carrier, there, has sometimes risen 
to the command of armies ; a successful slave has 
often ascended the throne at whose foot he once 
ministered. The sons of deceased amirs might have 
an indefinite right to employment, but it would never 
be in the command of their father's mansabs : the 
best that they could expect would be to begin life as 
ahdis, or unattached cavaliers, perhaps with a slender 
following, perhaps, if they were very poor, alone: 
these gentlemen-cadets would at first rank as private 
troopers, but would be excused from sentry and fatigue- 
duties, until they were deemed worthy of promotion. 
A choice body of ahdis formed the mounted body- 
guard of the monarch K 

The last class of attendants at the levee described 
by Bernier, was that whose French designation has 
been translated above as 'Envoys'; the Vakils, or 

1 Corresponding to the ' Exempts ' of the old French monarchy, 
a name preserved in the ' Exons ' of the Queen's body-guard. 


Agents, of those Amirs who were absent on distant 
service. The Empire was divided, in those days, into 
fifteen provinces, each being administered by a lord- 
deputy, like Ireland under Elizabeth, and still more 
like Satrapies of the old Empires. Each of these 
viceroys had his own smaller court, a mimic repro- 
duction of the sovereign's ; but each was liable to 
transfer or removal from office during his lifetime. 
The first Nizam was at one time appointed to Rohil- 
khand, at another translated to Malwa ; it was not till 
the second quarter of the eighteenth century that he 
was able to construct a hereditary principality out of 
his last viceroyship in the Deccan. In all this con- 
stitution we are reminded of nothing so much as of 
' King Ahasuerus on the throne in Shushan the 
palace, with his princes and servants; the power of 
Persia and Media, and the nobles of the provinces 
being before him ; when he showed the riches of his 
kingdom ; and there were hangings of white cloth, of 
green and of blue fastened with cords of purple to 
silver rings and pillars of marble, and the thrones 
were of gold and silver upon a pavement of porphyry 
and white marble and alabaster ' [Rev. Vers, of Bible, 
Esther, i. 3, 6]. Here the provincial satraps would 
seem to have been in attendance : usually they would 
be represented by agents. 

Such was the Mughal Empire in its palmy state. 
When Bernier left the country there appeared no 
symptom of decadence, unless a peculiarly shrewd 
observer might have noted the change in the personal 


character of the sovereign. Inferior to none of the 
great Sultans, from whom he was descended, in cour- 
age or application, 'Alamgir, known to us by his 
private name 'Aurangzeb/ was, in some vital respects, 
unfit to carry on their system. With Hindu wives 
and mothers they had been tolerant, almost Catholic, 
in their ideas, and of jovial manners. The Emperor 
'Alamgir was the son of a Persian mother, known in 
her lifetime for a fanatical and persecuting temper. 
The youngest of a large family, he had carved out his 
own fortunes by audacity, suspicion, and intrigue ; of 
austere and frugal habits, he had greatly curtailed 
the expenses of the Court, had put down much of its 
traditional display, and even discontinued the bi- 
weekly appearance at the palace window where his 
predecessors had been accustomed to receive the re- 
spectful greetings of the common people. Finally, he 
pursued the dream of universal empire without the 
necessary accompaniments of conciliation, and revived 
the hated poll-tax upon his Hindu subjects which had 
been suspended ever since the days of Akbar; re- 
minding us of his contemporary in France and the 
revocation of the Edict of Nantes. 

Thus his conquests in the Deccan only encouraged 
Maratha presumption and bred perpetual trouble ; so 
that, when he was entombed at Aurangabad, in 1707, 
he had been to the last breath haunted by remorse and 
anxiety, by the disputes of his sons, and by the cares 
arising out of his annexations. At last, in 1713, the 
government of the new Subah fell into the hands of 


Hosain Ali, one of the king-making Saiads \ This 

man left the province in charge of his kinsmen while 

he directed the affairs at Delhi ; the conception 

of forming a remote viceroyship into a dynastic 

principality, however unconstitutional, was obvious, as 

matters then went ; and it was soon adopted by an 

abler aspirant. This was an official more resembling 

what in Europe is considered a man of high birth 

than is usual in Musalman countries, being the son of 

Firoz Khan, a Turkman of distinguished rank, who 

had held high commands in the Deccan for half a 

century. The son, originally known as Kamr-ud-din 

Khan, had assumed the title of 'Asaf Jan,' and the 

office of Prime Minister to the Emperor Muhammad 

Shah, in January 1721. In a little more than three 

years he had thrown up in disgust an office which 

the levity of the young monarch hindered him from 

discharging to his satisfaction; and had repaired to 

the Deccan, where he founded the State which still 

subsists under the name of ' The Nizam's Dominions/ 

Nominally, it was the Subah erected on the ruins of 

the old Musalman kingdoms ; but in the decline of the 

Empire it became a hereditary and quasi-independent 

province, though the ruler never took the royal title, 

but continued to retain the style of an Imperial 

Viceroy, as ' Nizam-ul-mulk/ which his descendant 

still bears. 

1 The ' Seiads ' of Elphinstone, properly Sayid = ' a prince/ or 
1 descendant of the Prophet/ It is in this secondary sense alone 
that the word is used in India. The title of the famous • Cid ' of 
Spain is an instance of the primary meaning. 


Xsaf Jah was a valiant and prudent ruler. The 
Marathas had been granted a tribute from the 
province, and this he was unable to withhold. But 
he succeeded in effecting an arrangement by virtue of 
which this tribute was to be collected by his own 
officers and paid to the Marathas out of his treasury, 
so that he saved the commission hitherto charged by 
the Maratha collectors while his people were spared 
the visitations of a double collecting agency. 

This, however, may be regarded as the culminating 
period of the Hindu ascendency in Maharashtra. The 
civil administration was under a complete political 
hierarchy. The nominal head, under the Raja, was 
a sort of chancellor, entitled Pratinidhi ; but there 
was a council of state called the Asht pardhdn, or 
' Council of Eight,' of which the President, or Mukh- 
pardhdn ) 'boxQ the title of Peshwd ; and, shortly before 
the foundation of the Nizam's power at Haidarabad 
the then Peshwa, Balaji Viswanath, had, by con- 
spicuous business abilities, become in effect the first 
person in the government. He died in 1720, and was 
succeeded by his eldest son, Baji Rao, who carried on 
his complicated system. The Pratinidhi, Sripat Rao, 
maintained for some time his constitutional position 
as chief administrator; but being opposed to the 
extension of the Maratha empire he lost influence ; 
while the Peshwa, by giving his attention to military 
reform, fascinated both Raja and people, and became 
by rapid degrees the leader of the confederacy. He 
was the first to show the path by which Madhava 


Sindhia afterwards rose to supremacy ; the Mughal 
Empire, he said, was a withered trunk: let them 
strike at this and the boughs would fall of them- 
selves. Accordingly, while retaining the twofold 
organisation of the cavalry 1 , he reduced that force 
to a governable condition; while he established a 
body of infantry which, with a due proportion of 
guns, should give consolidation and steadiness to 
the army. 

The first step in the ambitious projects to which 
Baji Rao committed his willing sovereign was the 
conquest of the rich province of Malw&. This, which 
had formed part of a former viceroyship of the Nizam, 
had been transferred by the Emperor to a Hindu 
Siibadar, Raja Girdhar Rai, when the Nizam went to 
Haidarabad; and the enterprising Maratha leader 
now proceeded to invade it with the connivance of the 
dispossessed Nizam. In the campaign which ensued, 
two of his principal officers were the Sillad&rs, or 
leaders of partisan horse, named, respectively, Mal- 
harji Holkar and Ranoji Sindhia: and to them the 
Peshwa issued patents authorising them to levy the 
usual Maratha tribute, and to retain a moiety for the 
payment of their troops. The war began in 1727; 
but was interrupted by a quarrel with the Nizam, of 
which the ultimate result was that the Peshwa got 
the better of his rivals ; and, although the Nizam 
himself escaped ruin, the power of Baji Rao was 

1 Bdrgirs, or paid horsemen, and Silldddrs, or leaders of militia 


established as supreme in the Maratha Government. 
The conquest of Malwa soon followed, as will be re- 
lated presently. 

The Peshwas henceforth became a dynasty of here- 
ditary Presidents of the Confederacy, or United States, 
of Southern India. In 175 1 the Marathas had become 
masters of Malwa and Orissa, and drew their 25 per 
cent, from the revenues of Bengal. Calcutta, the 
British Factory, was threatened; and the ' Maratha 
Ditch ' was dug as a part of the works for its pro- 
tection. It was the strengthening of these fortifications, 
indeed, which provoked the Mughal Nawab five years 
later and led to the Black-Hole and all its momentous 

Meanwhile the invasions of the Persians and 
Afghans had brought the Court of Delhi to complete 
prostration. Then followed a chronic feud between the 
two great parties of immigrant nobles who contended 
for the wreck of the Empire. The Persian party, or 
'Lords of Iran/ were headed by Safdar Jang, of 
Oudh, while the Turkmans, or * Lords of Tiiran,' were 
led by a nephew of the Nizam, called Ghazi-ud-din. 
The Marathas under Holkar joined with the Jats, on 
the side of the former party, but they were worsted. 
Ghazi-ud-din then deposed the Emperor, and proceeded 
to set up another Emperor, by the title of c Alamgir II 


The convulsions of the Muhammadan power in 
Hindustan were witnessed with sorrow by a great 
warrior of that faith, the famous Ahmad Shah Abdali, 


who had founded the Durani Empire west of the 
Indus after the death of Nadir Shah. At the head of 
a body of Afghan horsemen Ahmad, advancing from 
Kandahar, swept through the Punjab, and arrived at 
Delhi about the beginning of the year 1757. Accom- 
panied by Najib Khan — a Pathan Chief who was in 
secret correspondence with the invader — Ghazi-ud-din 
the Turkman minister marched out to encounter the 
invader ; and so complete was the isolation into which 
his character had brought him, that he only learned 
his true position when he beheld the greater part of 
his army follow Najib into the enemy's lines, where 
they were received as expected guests. He then 
hastened to make his peace with the Abdali; and 
gave him the aid of his officers and men in collecting 
from the Jats and other inhabitants of the surround- 
ing country a tribute which could hardly be distin- 
guished from plunder. Having, then, drained the 
citizens of Delhi of whatever had been left by Nadir 
Shah the Afghans departed in the beginning of 
winter. Before his departure their leader appointed 
Najib to the post of Amir-ul-Amara, and enjoined 
upon him the duty of protecting the feeble old Emperor. 
But Ghazi-ud-din was too strong for the new minister, 
whom he expelled by force when Ahmad was well 
gone ; and, incited by Ghazi, a Maratha force of 
cavalry under two of the sons of Eanoji Sindhia 
proceeded to attack Najib in his own fief and hem 
him into Rokilkhand. Master of Delhi Ghazi-ud-din 
proceeded to oppress the Emperor and his family. 


The Crown Prince, Ali Gauhar, saved himself by 
flight, but the infamous young Turkman murdered 
the inoffensive Emperor (30 Nov. 1759). The fugitive 
Prince assumed the title of Badshah (Emperor) under 
the protection of Shuja-ud-daula, the Nawab of Oudh 
and hereditary Wazir of the Empire ; and the Afghan 
leader returned to his cantonment of Anupshahr, on 
the Upper Ganges. The Nawab Wazir coalesced with 
Najib to oppose the Marathas ; and Ghazi-ud-din, 
finding his position no longer tenable, took refuge 
with the Jats of Bhartpur K 

1 He died a fugitive and an outcast, about the year 1800. 



It was mentioned above that in 1759 the MaratMs 
in Hindustan were under the command of two sons 
of Ranoji Sindhia. These were Dattaji and ' Madhoji,' 
or Madhava Rao, two young men who had already 
distinguished themselves against the French and 
their 'Nizam' in the war of 175 1. Of the former of 
these we shall have nothing further to record: he 
endeavoured to secure the friendship of Najib and 
the Rohillas in the event of any conflict with Ahmad 
Shah that might be approaching ; and he then went 
off to the Punjab accompanied by Malhar Rao Holkar, 
to meet the Afghans by whom they were defeated 
and forced to fly, though not till Dattaji had fallen. 

The heart of the exhausted Empire had now almost 
ceased to beat. Never in modern times has a 
civilised country fallen into such a condition. The 
state of France during the Hundred Years War was 
bad enough, but there was still a centre of royalty 
and a spark of patriotic spirit left, among the govern- 
ing classes, if the people at large had lost hope. Here, 
the ruin of the government had been gradual and 


soon became final. There was not only no class of 
society left to make head against foreign invasion, but 
there was none left to heal the wounds of the body 
politic when foreign invaders should depart. It may 
seem that we are witnessing a combat of kites and 
crows ; but at least there is something tragic in the 
aspect of so vast and famous a land extended as a 
helpless prize for their contentions. 

In the meantime the Deccan, though less inactive, 
was not much more prosperous. If Hindustan lay like 
a moribund carcase, the south of India flamed like a 
volcano. To compensate for the failure of his forces 
in the north, the new Peshwa, Balaji, had sent his 
cousin, Sheodasheo Rao, commonly called ' the Bhao,' 
to attack the dominions of the Nizam. The Bhao 
soon obtained possession of the city of Ahmadnagar, 
and the surrounding country ; and negotiations began 
by means of which the Nizam ultimately saved the 
remnant of his power though by painful sacrifices. 
Flushed with this success, the Bhao next proposed to 
carry out the design of the deceased Baji Rao, to 
drive the Musalmans out of Hindustan and acquire the 
universal rule of India for the Marathas. The scheme 
looked feasible. The Maratha army no longer con- 
sisted merely of foraying spearmen and light guerilla 
riders ; it included a large force of well-mounted 
cavalry drawing regular pay from the State, and a 
considerable body of infantry imbued with French 
discipline. Baji Rao's design seemed about to be 



Among the foremost leaders of his army had been 
Ranoji Sinxlhia, who had risen from a humble position ; 
who had been succeeded on his death by his grandson 
Jankoji ; and whose illegitimate son, Madhava, has 
been mentioned as operating in Hindustan when his 
brother Dattaji was killed by the Afghans. Madhava, 
born about 1730, now accompanied his nephew at the 
head of the contingent of cavalry furnished by the 
clan from their hereditary fief in Northern Malwa. 

Flushed with the pride of youth and conquest the 
Bhao, accompanied by Viswas Rao, son of the Peshwa, 
moved out of Poona in September, 1759, in all the 
pomp of a Mughal General : his camp, enriched with 
the plunder of the Deccan Musalmans, was on a scale 
of splendour hitherto unknown to the Marathas. l The 
lofty and spacious tents/ says Grant Duff, ' lined with 
silks and broadcloths, were surmounted by great gilded 
ornaments, conspicuous at a distance . . . Vast numbers 
of elephants, flags of all descriptions, the finest horses, 
magnificently caparisoned . . . seemed to be collected 
from every quarter ... it was an imitation of the more 
becoming and tasteful array of the Mughals in the 
zenith of their glory.' Nor was this pomp the only 
innovation. Originally irregular horsemen, armed with 
long bamboo lances ; carrying food, forage, bedding, 
and stable-gear; making sudden dashes on baggage- 
guards ; galloping fifty miles after a repulse, and 
ready to form and fight again next day ; the Maratha 
horse now formed a compact body of 20,000 chosen 
cavaliers ; with a train of artillery, and a division of 


10,000 musketeers and gunners, disposed in battalions 
and field-batteries. This latter division was under a 
Musalman soldier of fortune, named Ibrahim Gardi : he 
had learned French discipline under Bussy, and took 
his second name from having commanded that officer's 
body-guard at Haidarabad, whence he had been 
discharged, and immediately engaged by the Bhao. 
Many Hindu Chiefs brought their irregular con- 
tingents to swell the progress of the advancing army. 
Holkar joined in Malwa, the Gaekwar led his men 
from Gujarat. From Bundelkhand marched Govind 
Panth ; many Rajput Chiefs contributed ; in Bhart- 
pur the celebrated Suraj Mall came in with 20,000 
hardy Jats. 

A difference of opinion soon declared itself among 
these various elements. Holkar and Suraj Mall, 
experienced in partisan operations, pointed out to the 
Bhao that it was not by regular warfare that the 
Marathas had heretofore baffled the armies of the 
Musalmans ; and they proposed that he should leave 
his camp and followers in some strong place, like 
Bhartpur or Gwalior, while he resorted to the traditional 
Maratha tactics. These were to waste the country, 
to cut off convoys, and not to hazard fighting on a 
large scale till the enemy were exhausted by want or 
dispersed in search of forage. But the Bhao rejected 
these counsels with disdain, stigmatising Holkar and 
Suraj Mall as a couple of goatherds unfit to advise in 
warfare. He had seen the effect of guns and dis- 
ciplined troops in southern campaigns, and he flat- 

38 mAdhava rAo sindhia 

tered himself that those advantages were now on his 
side rather than on that of the enemy. The guerilla 
experience of Holkar, the bucolic sagacity of the Jat 
Chief, seemed to him the timid suggestions of men 
ignorant of scientific war. And so the mighty host 
moved on to Delhi, where it arrived in December. 
The garrison left there was not strong enough to 
guard the walls; and the Bhao made his entrance 
without difficulty, and proceeded to surround the 
fortified citadel in which was situated the Imperial 
palace. After a brief bombardment it was taken by 
escalade, and a sum of seventeen Idkhs (say ^ 170,000) 
obtained for the military chest by melting down the 
silver with which, after so much spoliation, the ceiling 
of the audience-hall was still decorated. 

In the meantime the Durani Shah was busily 
engaged, in his Cantonment at Anupshahr, employed 
upon the organisation of the forces of Islam. All that 
spring he waited, with the patience of a consummate 
leader, and employed himself in preparing the Rohillas. 
Najib was urgent that the co-operation of the Oudh 
Nawab Shuja-ud-daula should be secured at whatever 
cost: but he showed that the negotiation would be 
difficult 1 . The Lords of Iran had always shown a 
disposition to side with the natives against the 
Turanian, or immigrant, party who represented foreign 
conquest; and their dissidence of creed, as Shiahs, 
would further operate to weaken the crescentading 

1 It was believed that the Bh£o, on taking possession of Delhi, 
had made Viswas Rao Emperor with Shuja as Wazir. 


fervour. The Shah, perceiving the force of these 
arguments, begged Najib to go to the Nawab and 
persuade him to make common cause with the 
defenders of the faith; and in this mission the 
shrewd partisan was completely successful. Shuja 
determined on taking the plunge: he placed his 
family in careful custody at Lucknow, and returned 
with Najib to the camp of the Shah by whom he 
was warmly welcomed. Shortly after, almost before 
the cessation of the monsoon, the united force broke 
up from Anupshahr and slowly moved, through miry 
ways, towards the left bank of the Jumna. 

The Bhao, on this, opened negotiations with Shuja, 
in the hope of detaching him from his new alliance. 
But the prudent Najib was ever at his convert's 
elbow; and, with whatever negotiations the Bhao 
might be amused, all the correspondence was shown 
to the Pathan leader 1 . The Shah's chief minister 
was also consulted, and was, for his own part, not 
indisposed to grant terms to the Hindus. Some 
partition of the country seems to have been discussed ; 
but Najib had too much at stake to allow of his 
favouring any accommodation: and the only result 
of these negotiations was that the shaken confidence 
of Suraj Mall was so destroyed that he shortly after 

1 Pathan, or Rohilld, meant, in those days, much the same, viz. 
an Indian Afghan ; but as Najib did not belong to the confederacy 
of the Rohilla Province it will avoid confusion to call him a 
* Pathan/ He had married a daughter of Dundi Khan, Chief of the 
Rohillas, but his own fief was about Saharanpur, on the opposite 
side of the Ganges. 

4 o mAdhava rAo sindhia 

withdrew to his own country. At length arrived the 
Dasahrd, regarded in India as the termination of the 
monsoon and a convenient, as also an auspicious, time 
for the beginning of a momentous enterprise. The 
Bhao, accordingly, marched up the Jumna, and cut up 
a detached Afghan post at Kunjpura, about eighty 
miles to the north of Delhi, the 20th October, 1760. 
The river was still brimming with autumnal floods, 
when the indignant Shah threw his main army across 
the river to punish this act of audacity. On the 
afternoon of the 26th a skirmish took place at 
Sonpat, whence the Afghans drove the Hindu army 
northward until it found shelter under the walls 
of Panipat. In this position the two hosts faced 
each other for the next two months, during which 
time the wisdom of the advice tendered, the year 
before, by Holkar and the Jat Chief became abun- 
dantly manifest. But it was now the Marathas who 
were pent up and threatened with scarcity, while 
the light horse of the Musalmans wasted the country 
and deprived their enemies of the. means of sub- 
sistence, besides cutting up detached parties : among 
these was Govind Panth, who was surprised while 
foraging, and slain with 1000 of his men, near Meerut. 
In an action on the 23rd December Najib lost 3000 of 
his Rohillas. 

At last came the T th y g of January 1761, when 
the Bhao, after a midnight council, sent off a last 
message to Shuja: but before he could receive an 
answer the Marathas lost patience. At daybreak, 


having eaten their last rations, they issued from their 
lines, with dishevelled turbans and faces smeared with 
turmeric, as men devoted to death. 

The Afghan army consisted of 28,000 heavy 
cavalry; men-in-armour mounted on big Turkman 
horses. With them was an equal number of Eohilla 
horse, and a force of about 38,000 Hindustani infantry 
— matchlockmen and pikes— while eighty heavy guns 
protected the position. The Hindu confederacy had 
suffered, by losses in skirmishing, and by desertions ; 
but had still an immense cavalry and artillery, besides 
the regulars on foot. The whole number within their 
lines has been estimated at 300,000, but this total 
includes the camp-followers. The fighting men who 
came forth that morning probably amounted to not 
much more than 70,000 or, at the utmost, 80,000 
good troops, with 200 guns besides a great supply of 
rockets (Elphinstone, p. 747). They had a multitude 
of light troops besides, who, however, would not count 
for much in a melee. They marched in an oblique 
line, with their left thrown forward, and guns ad- 
vanced. The Bhao was in the centre, with the 
household troops. The extreme right consisted of 
cavalry under Holkar and Sindhia. The division 
of regular foot, under Ibrahim Gardi, formed the left 
wing, with a couple of battalions bent back so as to 
form a half square. 

On perceiving the advance the Shah formed a 
similar line, of which the part consisting of Najib and 
the Rohillas was on the left, opposite to Sindhia and 

42 mAdhava rAo sindhia 

Holkar. The Nawab of Oudh with 2000 cavalry 
came next, and then a strong body of cuirassiers under 
the Afghan minister Shdh Wali Khan. In the centre 
were the Rohilla horse under Hafiz Rahmat and other 
of their chiefs. The right, composed of two Persian 
brigades of cavalry, faced the Gardi. Two more 
divisions of cuirassiers, massed upon either wing, 
formed the reserve, under Afghan generals ; and these 
were the flower of the Musalman host. The Shah 
directed the operations from the rear. 

The guns of the Marathas sent their shot over the 
advancing ranks of the enemy ; but no sooner had the 
armies closed than the value of the French discipline 
appeared. Having defeated the attack of the Persian 
cavalry, Ibr&him turned upon the Rohillas with such 
effect that 8000 of them were quickly disposed of ; and 
for three hours the Gardi held the field. Shuja was 
paralyzed, so that he neither fled nor fought. The 
corps between him and Najib was that of Shah Wali 
in the centre, who had his line broken by a charge of 
the Bhao in person. He was dismounted, and was now 
in sore straits, and sent to urge Shuja to come to his 
support. In later wars the Nawab was to show that 
he did not want for soldiership, even when engaged 
with the British; but this was his first experience, 
and he does not seem to have been equal to the 
occasion. Meanwhile, the sagacious Najib had re- 
course to the expedient of erecting earthworks ; and 
he was heard to say that, c he, for one, could not afford 
to make any blunders.' Till noon he continued to 


keep off the attacks of Sindhia's horse by discharging 
rockets from his intrenchment. It is here that we 
are to picture our young adventurer, the uncle of 
Jankoji Sindhia, fighting by the side of his nephew, 
amid the roar of great guns, the whistling of musket- 
balls, and the low roar of the rocket-batteries, while 
the cries of the followers of Siva and of Vishnu 
crossed in the air with those of Bin ! Bin ! (' for the 
Faith') from the other side. The Shah, from his 
rearward watch, saw the crisis. Bringing up his 
two bodies of reserved cavalry, from left and right, 
he charged down in support of his threatened centre. 
At the same moment he sent orders to his two wings 
to fall on the flanks of the Hindu army. 

This movement began at 1 p.m. ; the fight raged 
closely and stubbornly for more than an hour; and 
then the famished Hindus began to give way. The 
Bhao, committing his family to Holkar's protection, 
turned his charger's head and galloped from the field. 
Holkar, taking the hint, and relying on an under- 
standing which he always maintained with the 
Rohillas, retired. Viswas Kao was killed on his 
elephant. Among the fugitives was Janardhan Balaji, 
afterwards to be famous as the ' Nana Farnavis.' The 
rest of the battle was butchery. Forty thousand 
prisoners were killed on the spot. Other thousands 
wandered over the country till they were overtaken 
by the pursuing horsemen or cut up by the people 
of the country for the sake of their personal spoils. 

Amid the rout of the fugitives young Madhava 

44 mAdhava rAo sindhia 

urged on his light Deccan mare, stimulated by the 
lobbing paces and roaring breath of a bony north- 
country horse behind him on which was mounted a 
gigantic Afghan trooper eager for plunder. Long 
was the chase, or seemed so to the anxious mind of 
the young Maratha Chief: at length his mare fell at 
a ditch that she attempted to clear, and all hope of 
escape was lost. The pursuer came up ; and, leaping 
from his horse, spat in Sindhia's face and dealt him 
a blow on the knee which crippled him ; then strip- 
ping off his costly apparel and ornaments the Afghan 
rode off on the fallen man's high-bred charger, with- 
out doing any further harm. 

Jankoji, the then head of the Sindhia clan, was less 
fortunate. Taken captive in the lost battle he was 
slain next day with a multitude of other captives, in 
spite of earnest efforts made in his behalf by the 
Oudh Wazir. A headless body, found some miles 
from the field, was believed to be all that remained of 
the once splendid and powerful Sheodasheo Bhao ; and 
the honours of the Hindu cremation were accordingly 
paid to those remains at the prayer of the same noble- 
man, Shuja-ud-daula, whose Indian sympathies have 
been already noticed. The gallant Ibrahim Gardi 
was also taken, covered with wounds: the Afghan 
leaders reproached him bitterly for serving the 
heathen against his co-religionists ; and he died a 
few days later, his injuries being neglected or, as was 
believed by some, purposely maltreated. In all these 
matters the Shia Nawab, Shuja-ud-daula was not by 


any means satisfied with the attention paid to him 
by the Shah who, for his part, set but little value on 
the Nawab's assistance. After events were to show 
that Shuja was no mean soldier ; but in the present 
campaign his co-operation certainly appears to have 
been somewhat lukewarm. He now departed, with- 
out showing or receiving any extraordinary tokens of 
respect or friendship ; and he never again took part 
in religious warfare. 

The Shah soon after returned to his own country : 
but before doing so he proclaimed the absent Shah 
e Alam, appointing a provisional government to act at 
Delhi, at the head of which was Mirza Jawan Bakht, 
eldest son of Shah 'Alam ; Najib Khan, with the 
title of Najib-ud-daula, was to be chief minister, for 
war and peace, as before the campaign. 

The campaign of 17 60-1 is an instance, in the first 
place, of the value of generalship and firmness. Like 
his ally, Najib, the Afghan Shah, c could not afford to 
make any mistakes.' The Bhao, on the contrary, 
however valiant, was arrogant and careless. In its 
military and political incidents also, it will be found 
in many respects deserving of attention. It is not 
only an exemplary instance of the height to which 
the power of the southern confederacy had grown, 
but it is the first occasion of an Asiatic power 
using the new resources of scientific warfare against 
mediaeval methods. The latter, it is true, prevailed ; 
in spite of the employment of artillery and regular 
infantry the enemy won the victory by reiterated 


charges of mailed men-at-arms. Yet, for all that, 
the behaviour of the Gardis, imperfectly trained 
and without European officers as they were, was 
sufficiently remarkable to have afforded instruction 
to such a mind as the youthful Sindhia's. On his 
own future fortunes the campaign was destined, as 
we shall presently see, to exercise a still more direct 
influence. By the temporary depression of their 
confederacy it deterred the Marathas from an attack 
upon Bengal in which they would probably have 
been joined by Shuja and Shah c Alam, and would 
perhaps have succeeded in extirpating the still slender 
and struggling power of the British Company. Had 
they been successful in Bengal there would have been 
nothing to arrest the Marathas in Northern India. 
Whatever wars might have awaited them in the 
South, there would have been no opening for the 
peculiar ambition of Madhava Sindhia ; he might 
have distinguished himself against Haidar or the 
Nizam: but he would never have had the oppor- 
tunity of coming to an understanding with Warren 
Hastings, or of making himself master of the Mughal 
Empire in Hindustan. 

It is for these reasons that the circumstances of the 
attack on Northern India by the Poona Government 
and its bloody repulse by the Afghans are of so 
much moment, occurring when they did. At no 
later period, indeed, would the campaign have been 
of the same importance. In a few years after the 
rout of Panipat the Sikh power had become con- 


solidated. Never again were the Afghans to have 
their own way in the Punjab. A few more raids and 
incursions were to take place, each less successful 
than its predecessor ; and then the new semi-Hindu 
confederacy of the Sikhs, the famous Khalsa, was 
to settle down, like a wall of concrete, a dam against 
the encroachment of the Northern flood. And not 
only so, but the formation of the Khalsa wall not 
only kept out the tide of invasion, but it produced 
a still more unexpected and, even yet, little-noticed 
change. From the middle of the sixteenth century 
there had been a constant immigration of individual 
adventures from Turkestan and Persia, which had 
furnished the Mughal Empire with great philosophers, 
beautiful princesses, brave generals, and able politi- 
cians and statesmen. This system of more peaceful 
invasion also was now to cease. After the half- 
dozen Mughal Chiefs now in the country had passed 
away there were to be no more of those powerful 
individualities to lead the more pliable characters 
of Hindustan and shape the fortunes of the people. 

For the present, Najib-ud-daula, one of the last 
of these immigrants, was supreme at Delhi. Of the 
Hindu hosts who had entered the capital eighteen 
months ago, hardly a fragment was left to struggle 
home to the Deccan. Hindustan was saved, but 
so as by fire, delivered, but quite demoralised. Of the 
condition of the harassed inhabitants we may form 
some notion from the language of a native writei 
quoted by the historian of Rajputana. 


'The people of Hindustan, at this period, thought 
only of personal safety and gratification. Misery was 
disregarded by those who escaped it: and man, 
centred solely in self, felt not for his kind. This 
selfishness, destructive of virtue both public and 
private, became universal in Hindustan after the 
invasion of Nadir Shah ; nor have the people become 
more virtuous since, and consequently are neither 
more happy nor more independent ' (Tod's Rajasthari). 

Meanwhile the Maratha confederacy had sustained 
a shock which was likely to deter its members from 
again disturbing the peace of Hindustan for some time 
to come. With the losses in preliminary engagements, 
the slaughter on the field, and the subsequent 
massacres of prisoners by the Afghans and of fugi- 
tives by the peasantry of the surrounding villages, it 
was estimated that three-fourths of the grand army 
had disappeared: according to Grant Duff 'nearly 
two hundred thousand Marathas perished in the 

An effort had been made to save them and secure 
success. During the nine or ten weeks for which 
the Bhao had been blockaded at Panipat reports of 
his condition had reached his cousin at Poona. The 
Peshwa was a voluptuary, but not destitute of spirit : 
and he seems to have done his best to succour his 
kinsman and his son. In December he set out from 
Ahmadnagar, with such forces as he had been able to 
collect: and he had reached the Narbada when he 
was accosted, on his march across that stream, by a 


messenger sent express by a banker attached to the 
army, hurrying with news to the banker's corre- 
spondents in the Deccan. Tearing open the letter 
carried by this man the Peshwa read the ominous 
words : ' Two pearls have been melted ; twenty-seven 
gold rnohrs have been lost : of silver and copper the 
totals cannot be cast up/ In this figurative language, 
employed for prudential reasons, the Peshwa discovered 
a too true description of the ruin that had overtaken 
his officers and men. 

Presently the scattered fugitives began to trickle 
into the camp, and to confirm the terrible tidings. 
Grief and despair took possession of high and low. 
Sadly the Peshwa gave orders for the homeward 
march of the now useless reinforcements : his health 
of mind and body, already shaken by his self-in- 
dulgent habits, rapidly gave way: in June, 1761, he 
died at Poona of ' a broken heart.' He was succeeded 
in the Presidency of the Maratha States by his 
second son, Madhava Rao, the namesake of Sindhia. 

In the following pages we shall try to unfold the 
character and conduct of the great man who, thus 
nursed in foraying, disaster, and anarchy, and exposed 
for the greater part of his life to all sorts of hostile 
attacks and intrigues, was to make a successful inroad 
on this state of unlaw, and to restore the beginnings 
of prosperity to an afflicted people. 

It has been mentioned that Madhava was an 
illegitimate son of the deceased Patel and slipper- 
bearer, Ptanoji Sindhia, The family of Eanoji is 



believed to have been of noble origin, a younger 
branch of one which held the Chieftainship of 
Kanerkhair, some sixteen miles from Satara, and who 
had held a mansab, or military peerage, under the 
Mughal Empire. But the father of Ranoji had fallen 
upon evil days: he had become a Patel, or village 
manager, and his son had been fain to take service as 
a private trooper in the Pagah, or body-guard, of the 
Peshwa Balaji Viswanath. Employed to take care of 
the slippers of his master during any interview that 
the latter might have with the Raja, it was Ranoji's 
duty to present them when the Peshwa came out 
again. On one occasion of this kind the interview 
was long, and the Patel weary, so that he fell asleep 
at his post: but the Peshwa on emerging from the 
Presence was struck by finding that, even in his sleep, 
the faithful attendant had hold of the shoes in both 
hands, with which he clasped them to his breast. 
From that moment the Patel's fortune was made, and 
he became an officer of rank with a Jaigir, or military 
fief, in Northern Malwa, where he fixed his head- 
quarters at the famous old Hindu town of Ujjain, the 
capital of the legendary Vikramaditya. This province, 
as already mentioned, had been formerly held by Asaf 
Jah, the founder of the existing dynasty of Haidarabad ; 
when he went to conquer the Deccan in 1721 the 
province passed from one official to the other until, 
in the decrepitude of the Empire, an attempt was 
made to produce a valid viceroy in the person of Jai 
Singh II, the loyal and learned Dhiraj of Jaipur. 


About the middle of the century Balaji Baji Rao, the 
third Peshwa, whose defeat and death have been just 
described, finally obtained possession, under the 
pretence of holding it as a vassal of the now moribund 
Empire. But the Peshwa was too busy with other 
affairs, more remote and more important: so he 
presently proceeded to parcel out his newly acquired 
territory, granting the southern portion to Malhar Ji 
Holkar, and the northern to Ranoji Sindhia. 

Ranoji, the original Patel and shoe-bearer, had fixed 
his capital. as we have seen, in Northern Malwa, where he 
died (at some undetermined period) leaving five sons : 
Madhava, the subject of our memoir, being illegitimate, 
and the youngest but one. All his brothers died 
before Panipat or in that action ; so that, by the time 
we have reached, the maimed fugitive left to die on 
the wayside by his Afghan pursuer was the last of his 
race. The family, however, was saved from extinction 
by the opportune arrival of a Musalman water-carrier 
driving a bullock on whose back was the pakdl, or 
ox-skin, used for transporting water. This man, 
whose name was Rana Khan, lifted the wounded 
Chief to the back of the bullock and conveyed him 
to a place of safety: for which piece of humanity 
he ultimately received a munificent reward. The 
young Sindhia, who never forgot either a benefit or 
a wrong, always called the Musalman waterman his 
* brother ' ; and, on the latter entering the military 
service, watched his career to such purpose that 
Rana Kh&n rose to be a general officer and com- 

V 2 

52 mAdhava rAo sindhia 

manded armies in several subsequent actions of im- 

At the time of these tragic events, Madhava Rao was 
about thirty years of age ; but the fact that he was 
not born in wedlock has operated to keep the exact 
date and place of his birth uncertain. Being now the 
only capable representative of the clan, he obtained, 
though not without some difficulty, the succession to 
his fathers fiefs and the command which was involved 
in their possession. The old school of officials opposed 
him on account of his illegitimacy ; and it is said that 
this circumstance caused him to conceive a prejudice 
against his own countrymen and to show a strong 
preference for foreigners when he came to construct 
a civil and military administration. He displayed 
symptoms of insubordination, too ; and ran a great 
risk of punishment for lingering at Poona when 
ordered to join the army after the death of his 
old comrade Holkar: the circumstances, however, 
were not altogether discreditable to Sindhia. 

Malharji Holkar, who was originally a shepherd, 
had distinguished himself in the wars that led to the 
occupation of Malwa. After the battle of Panipat, in 
1 761, he returned to Malwa, and died there about four 
years after, leaving his fief to be administered by 
Ahalya Bai, the widow of his son and guardian of his 
infant grandson, of whom she was the mother. This 
lady, of whose remarkable talents and virtues we 
shall speak more fully hereafter, selected as her 
residence the pleasant village of Indore, where she 


began building in 1770, and which is now a populous 
city, and the capital of the Holkar State. Before 
that period there had been several other chief towns, 
at various times ; such as Kampil, Sarangpur, 
and Mandu, all of which have long since fallen into 

The grandson of Malharji did not long survive him ; 
and the Poona Regent, Rughnath Rao — known in 
English histories as ' Ragoba ' — called on the dowager 
to adopt a male heir to the State and property of the 
House of Holkar. But the lady refused, declaring that 
she would carry on the administration herself. On this 
Rughnath, who wielded provisional power at Poona, 
threatened to make an armed attack upon the widow 
and daughter-in-law of his feudatory with the object 
of plundering her property and destroying the power 
of the House. But Madhava refused to act against the 
family of his deceased comrade ; and since he held a 
principal command, and since the Bhonsla of Nagpur 
joined in his opposition, the Regent was obliged to 
desist from the nefarious enterprise. 

The route of the army collected by the Regent was 
accordingly diverted. Placed under the nominal com- 
mand of the Quarter-Master-General, one Visaji Krishn, 
the expedition was henceforth directed against the 
meagre dominions of Delhi, then under the protection 
of Najib-ud-daula. But Sindhia was not the man to 
draw chestnuts out of the fire for others. He was 
already laying the foundation of sovereignty in 
Central India, where his fief was; and, being in 


command of a choice body of 15,000 cavalry, he soon 
made himself virtual master of the territories between 
the Narbada and the Chambal. 

In 1769, however, he joined his forces to those of 
the Quarter-Master-General, and aided in a syste- 
matic plunder of the Jats of Bhartpur. This is not 
the place for a detailed account of that remarkable 
race which has long inhabited the land of the Hindus ; 
among them but scarcely of them, industrious in 
peace, tenacious in war, and maintaining their 
peculiar tribal customs. They first made their ap- 
pearance in the Indus valley, whence they spread 
westward by the time of Tamerlane, who records 
that they were Musalmans in name but unequalled 
robbers by nature. In the reign of 'Alamgir they had 
got as far as Agra and Bhartpur, and in the Punjab 
had amalgamated with the Khattris to form the Sikh 
community. In 1684 and again in 169 1 expeditions 
were sent against them by the Imperial Government, 
in opposing which they chose one Churaman, the lord 
of Sansani, as their leader, who was killed in battle 
in 1720. Churaman's grandson was Suraj Mall, 
whom we saw advising the Bhao in 1760 and saving 
himself from the ruin that he foresaw. With the aid 
of these sturdy yeomen Najib for some time made 
head against the Maratha general's attacks ; especially 
in 1765, when another column of the Maratha army 
was at the same time driven out of the country of 
Cawnpur by Colonel Carnac. But the Jats were 
never famous for their generosity ; and no sooner 


were the Marathas expelled than they thought the 
opportunity good for taking their share in the pickings 
of the carcase. Suraj Mall had obtained possession 
of the imperial city of Agra with its great fortified 
palace ; he also took several strong places in the 
Mewat Hills S.W. of Delhi and was threatening 
the valley of the Upper Jumna. At this time he had 
engaged the services of Sombre (Walter Bernhardt) 
the famous condottiere, with a battalion of trained 
Sepoys, a detail of artillery and about three hundred 
Europeans of various nationalities. But the Ulysses 
of Delhi was a match for the Autolycus of Bhart- 
pur ; the Jat Chief was killed, and his men were 
beaten back into the Bhartpur country before the end 
of 1765. They next attacked the Jaipur Rajputs ; 
and, being again worsted, were deserted by Sombre 
who never remained long with a falling cause. 
A period of confusion in the Jat State followed ; but 
the youngest son of Suraj Mall at last became Raja, 
or Thakur as they called him; and under him the 
Jat power still extended from Agra to Alwar, with a 
revenue of two millions sterling and an army of 
60,000 men. 

Early in 1767 the Sikhs threatened Najib, but 
this only brought down the Afghans, who overran 
the Punjab under Ahmad Shah. The Shah halted 
for some time on the scene of his former victory at 
Panipat, where he confirmed former arrangements, 
and returned thence to his own country. Soon after 
his departure the Maratha army crossed the Chambal, 

$6 mAdhava rAo sindhia 

advanced through the Jaipur plains which they 
wasted, and made the attack on Bhartpur already 
mentioned. Having rendered the Jats submissive 
they proceeded to threaten Delhi in 1769 and opened 
negotiations with Najib ; the immediate object 
being that the Marathas might, without molestation 
from the Musalmans, collect chant (as their phrase 
went) 1 in the territories between the Chambal, which 
was Sindhia's boundary, and the Jumna which then 
practically marked off the land remaining under the 
direct rule, or influence, of the Court of Delhi. 

The army which finally crossed the Narbada in 
1769, under the Quarter-Master-General, was reviewed 
in Malwa, after the junction of Sindhia's troops and 
those of the Indore dowager under her able general 
Takuji Holkar. Each of these Chiefs was the leader 
of fifteen thousand horse, while the Quarter-Master 
himself commanded twenty thousand more, inclusive 
of the light marauding cavalry so disastrously known 
in later years as ' Pindaris.' There was also a large 
body of infantry with guns ; but the men of those 
arms were not Marathas. Some were natives of Malwa, 
others Hindus from the Doab : the most valued and 
trusted of all being Arabs, and Abyssinians, and sea- 
faring men from the Conean and the Malabar coast. 

With the exception of the short raid by the 

followers of Holkar in 1764-5, this was the first 

appearance of a Maratha army in Hindustan since 

the disaster of Panipat. In the interval many things 

1 Chaut = 25 per cent., from a word meaning ' one -fourth.' 


had happened, including the deposition and expul- 
sion of Mir Kasim from the Eastern Stlbas, and the 
establishment of the British Company's servants 
there in the capacity of civil administrators under 
Imperial patent. The fugitive Emperor had been 
enthroned under the joint protection of the British 
and the Nawab Wazir ; and now held faded state in 
the halls of his ancestors at Allahabad; so fallen 
that he had to discontinue the music of his palace 
band on the remonstrance of the British commandant, 
whose repose was disturbed by the barbaric strains 
of which an awe-struck European visitor had once 
declared that he found in them ' something majestical ' 
(Bernier). Weary of these restraints Shah c Alam was 
more than ever yearning for a restoration to Delhi ; 
and, without taking his British patrons into the small- 
est confidence, he had opened negotiations with the 
leaders of the Marathas which perhaps involved the 
ultimate and real object of their reappearance in 
Hindustan, where they respected the palace and the 
person of the Prince-Regent. 

We are now to enter on a most embroiled and 
confusing period, of intrigue and of war; in which 
considerable demands must, of necessity, be made 
upon the attention of the most patient reader. The 
only excuse that can be offered is that the period is 
one which, while it marks the gradual pacification of 
Hindustan, displays the penetration of the great 
Englishman who founded the Indian Empire without 
conquest and without unnecessary bloodshed. 


From the Restoration of the Emperor to the 
Peace op SalbAi 

The negotiations opened by the Quarter-Master- 
General were conducted by Takuji, the officer who 
had, as we have already seen, been selected by the 
widowed daughter-in-law of the son of the deceased 
Chief, Malhar Rao, to carry on the affairs of the 
Holkar clan. Though not a member of the late Chiefs 
family by blood, Takuji assumed the traditionary 
policy of the House, a portion of which was alliance 
with the Pathans or native Musalmans, of whom the 
Rohillas were now the most actively conspicuous. 
Madhava, on the other hand, was both opposed to 
that class by hereditary impulse and because he 
perceived that in Najib, supported by the Pathans, 
he had the most formidable rival in his ulterior 
designs. It would be idle to compare the two men 
who now divided the diplomatic direction of Maratha 
affairs as they also did the government of Malwa. 
The leader of the Holkar clan, who held possession 
of the southern portion of the province resting on 


the range of the> Vindhya north of the Narbada, was 
a good officer and a faithful subordinate to the 
strong-willed woman who" had raised him from 
obscurity : to him it was sufficient that the immediate 
interests of his mistress, and of the Maratha con- 
federacy at large, should be duly provided for. It 
was deemed advisable, in that view, to profit by 
the tendered friendship of Najib, who had conquered 
the Jats and might at any time renew the league 
of Islam : he had been the mainspring of the com- 
bination of 1760, and he was an evident favourite of 
the Afghan Shah to whom he had then been so useful. 
Najib was invited to visit the Maratha camp, which 
he did ; but he was worn out and knew that he had 
not long to live. He placed the hand of his son in 
that of Takuji, whose protection he requested, as if he 
foresaw how much that weak and worthless creature 
would need friends. He also attempted to conciliate 
Sindhia, but here he entirely failed. ' I require revenge/ 
the latter Chief said, ' for so much desolation and so 
many deaths, for the blood of my brothers and my 
nephews and my own perpetual mutilation; nor am 
I satisfied because my friend chooses to make this 
Musalman noble his brother. Nevertheless, I am the 
Peshwa's servant ; and if he sanctions such an alliance 
my part is to obey.' 

In holding this language, which is recorded by a 
contemporary writer, Sindhia struck the notes which 
were the dominant and the subdominant of his tune 
from first to last; the preservation of the Maratha 


confederacy and the observation of his own schemes 
and interests. 

Najib left the Maratha camp after making these 
arrangements and retired to Najibabad, a town that 
he had founded on the eastern side of the Ganges, and 
there he died, in October 1770, leaving his estates, and 
his post at Delhi, to Zabita Khan, the son already 
mentioned. The character of Najib was eulogised 
during his lifetime by Mr. Vansittart, President of 
the British Settlement in Bengal, who recorded his 
opinion that Najib-ud-daula was 'the only example 
in Hindustan of a character at once good and great/ 

In 1770 the Rohilla power was declining; the 
districts which Dundi Khan had acquired in the 
Doab he had been compelled to surrender to the 
Marathas ; and on his death he had left the province 
of Katahr, the present Bohilkhand, in the hands of a 
loose federation of Pathan Chiefs under the Protec- 
torate of Hafiz Bahmat Khan. Their expulsion from 
the Doab had been effected by Madhava, who was 
also charged with the repression of the Jats. 

Meanwhile Zabita Khan was already beginning to 
show the fickle falseness of character which marked 
the rest of his brief and inglorious career. While the 
Marathas were levying contributions in Bajputana, 
the Jat country, the Upper Doab and Bohilkhand, he 
made no attempt to conciliate them or to make friends 
in other quarters ; but contented himself with keeping 
back the revenues due to the absent Emperor and 
violating the sanctity of the Delhi palace, that last 


retreat of the great House of Timur, by intrigues 
with princesses of the imperial family. In the 
beginning of 177 1, the palace was occupied by the 
Maratba Chiefs before whom Zabita fled, retiring to 
his northern possessions, whence he began negotiating 
with Takuji Holkar who was contemplating the 
early restoration of the Emperor Shah c Alam. 

That vagrant monarch had, as previously stated, 
been pensioned by Clive after the defeat of the 
Nawab Shuja in 1765. Since that time he had con- 
tinued to reside, under British protection, at Allahabad 
with direct administrative jurisdiction over the ad- 
joining districts on the N.W. But he had never 
ceased to dream of a return to Delhi and a revival of 
the Empire of his fathers ; for the realisation of which 
dream he now seemed to see a favourable opening in 
the death of Najib. The leading men at Delhi, too, 
were very weary of the Pathans, and anticipated from 
the restoration of the Mughal monarchy a relief from 
Rohilla licence, and perhaps a renewed chance of 
employment in public affairs. The Nawab of Oudh, 
on the other hand, was by no means in favour of the 
scheme ; while the British authorities, when it was 
communicated to them openly, expressed their strong 

In these circumstances Takuji opened negotiations 
with the Shah, or the Shah with him, through the 
mediation of a loose Mughal lord, known only by his 
title of Hissam-ud-daula and by the reputation that 
has survived him of having been the Shah's agent in 


less respectable procuration. There is no record of 
Sindhia's share in the transaction: the only certain 
detail that we know is that the Shah promised to pay- 
ten IdJchs (say j^ioo } ooo) as a present fee to the 
Poona darbar ; while the cession of the districts which 
he had received from the Nawab under British 
influence also probably formed part of the considera- 
tion, implied if not expressed. 

Accordingly, disregarding the advice of the British 
Government and the dissuasions of the Nawab Shuja, 
Shah c Alam advanced up the Doab, arriving before 
the end of the monsoon at Farukhabad on the frontier 
of Rohilkhand. The main body of the Maratha 
army of Hindustan kept order at Delhi and awaited 
the Shah's arrival; but Sindhia, ever active in 
forwarding his own great design, marched out with a 
chosen force, joined his Majesty in his camp, and 
escorted him to the capital, which he entered on the 
25th December, 1771. For the next few months 
Sindhia and the rest of the Maratha leaders remained 
in and about the metropolis, engaged in measures of 
defence against Zabita Khan, who was living at the 
head of the Doab. Here he had several strong places, 
such as Ghausgarh, Saharanpur, and Sakartal — where 
the Ganges, after emerging from the hills, first becomes 
capable of navigation. He had ceased for the time to 
profit by the protection of Holkar and was engaged in 
stirring up his kindred on the other side of the river, 
the Pathans of Rohilkhand. In that province Zabita 
had a fourth strong-hold, Najibabad, already mentioned 


as the place of his father's death, the citadel of 
which was called Pathargarh (the ' Stone Fortress '). 
Hither he retired on hearing of the projected hostilities, 
so that he might have the river on his front, and on 
his rear the friendly country of the Rohillas. But the 
latter were at once neutralised by the action of Shuja- 
ud-daula, the Nawab of Oudh, whose readiness to 
co-operate with the supposed projects of the Emperor 
was quickened by views which he himself was 
maturing. In all that was being planned at Delhi it 
was the vindictiveness of the Marathas, directed by 
Sindhia, that was really at work; nevertheless, a 
restored emperor must be supposed to have some 
voice in imperial politics. Moreover, whatever may 
have been his own feelings in the matter, Shah e Alam 
had a minister, for peace and for war, who was cer- 
tainly capable of both making and executing enter- 
prises of great pith and moment. This was Mirza 
Najaf Khan, a Persian immigrant of high lineage and 
distinguished ability, the last great type of the class 
who, before the Sikhs were strong enough to bar the 
road through the Punjab, had been finding careers in 
India ever since the days of Akbar. 

Headed ostensibly by the Shah, who made some 
marches with the army, the Marathas marched out of 
Delhi in 1771, accompanied by a small but well- 
appointed imperial force, consisting of the body-guard 
of cadet cavaliers (Ahdis as they were called 1 ) and the 
4 Red battalion,' a body of regular infantry under a 
French officer named M^doc. The passage of the 

1 v. sup. p. 25. 

64 mAdhava rAo sindhia 

Ganges was easily effected ; for at that time of year, 
before the snows on the Himalayas have begun to melt, 
the Ganges was fordable at almost all points of its upper 
course ; and the Rohillas were deceived into believing 
that Sindhia and Holkar meant to cross at a point 
higher up the stream, where the usual crossing was at 
other seasons. Paralyzed by the menacing attitude of 
Shuja, the Rohillas withheld their support : and Zabita 
hurriedly evacuated Pathargarh, leaving his family 
and the treasure which his father had accumulated 
during ten years of office. His son, Ghulam Kadir 
was mutilated and converted into a Zanana-page in 
retaliation for the liberties taken in the palace after 
Najib's death ; it seemed as if Sindhia' s revenge was 

But the fall of the Rohillas was delayed by dis- 
sensions among their foes. The Emperor, who had 
been treated with but little respect by the Marathas, 
retired to Delhi; and the latter proceeded to admit 
the fugitive Zabita to pardon, and restored the captives 
taken at Pathargarh for a moderate indemnity in cash. 
They then advanced upon Agra where they passed the 
rainy season, while the Rohillas opened a negotiation 
with the Nawab of Oudh, whose designs they had not 
penetrated, and with whose alliance they hoped to 
reconstruct the Muhammadan league which had been, 
temporarily, so successful in 1760. By the good 
offices of the British Government of Bengal a treaty 
was concluded by virtue whereof the Protector of 
Rohilkhand bound himself and his brethren to give 


their support to the Musalman cause and to pay the 
Nawab forty lakhs (say ^400,000) in four instalments 
on condition of the Marathas being excluded from 
their province. This treaty, which proved the ruin of 
the Rohillas, was concluded on the nth July, 1772. The 
following extract contains the essential clause : — 

' The Vazir ' [Shuja's titular rank] ' shall establish the 
Rohelas obliging the Marathas to retire, either peace- 
fully or by war. If at any time they shall again 
enter the country their expulsion is the business of 
the Vazir. The Rohela Sirdars, in pursuance of the 
above, do agree to pay to the Vazir the sum of forty 
Idkhs of rupis,' &c. &c. 

Violent dissensions among the Rohillas ensued, 
and the province became the scene of terrible confusion 
and anarchy. At the same time Zabita, untrue to the 
league of his co-religionists, was making secret terms 
with the Marathas ; he for his part seeking to be 
replaced in the conduct of Delhi affairs, in which the 
titular Wazir took no active part ; while the Marathas, 
stimulated by Sindhia, were preparing for another 
struggle with the Musalmans. The virtues and abilities 
of Mirza Najaf were already attracting attention ; and 
Zabita, in plotting against the Muhammadan league, 
was also contriving the ruin of a formidable rival. 

The new allies conceived that their purposes would 
be advanced by stirring up trouble in the vicinity of 
Delhi, so as to bring the Mirza into disgrace and 
alarm, the Emperor into seeking their aid. With this 
view they instigated the Thakur of the Jats, Ranjit 


66 mAdhava rAo sindhia 

Singh, to renew certain claims upon the districts on 
the right bank of the Jumna, just above the capital. 
In pursuance of these claims the Jat forces moved 
against the fort of Ballabgarh, then held by a Baltich 
Chieftain whom, as a Musalman feudatory, the Mirza 
felt bound to support. A Mughal force was therefore 
sent from Delhi to check the Jats; the Marathas 
moved up in support of the latter ; and then the 
Mirza himself repaired to the scene, taking with him 
M. Medoc's regular infantry. 

All these movements and intrigues disgusted 
Sindhia, who had no desire that the son of Najib-ud- 
daula should prosper, or that the Empire should 
receive its coup-de~grdce before he should be in a 
position to use its imposing remains for his own objects. 
He therefore withdrew with his fine force to Rajpu- 
tana, where he provided the subsistence of his men by 
living at free quarters in the country of the Raja of 

In the meantime Holkar threw himself between the 
Jat army and the Mirza, whom he encountered at 
Badrpur, about ten miles S. of Delhi. After four 
days of obstinate fighting, in which discipline vainly 
contended against numbers, the Mirza was over- 
whelmed and driven back upon the capital which 
both the combatant parties entered together. Holkar 
was admitted into the palace by Hissam-ud-daula, 
and the objects of temporary league were obtained. 
Mirza Najaf was directed to withdraw, and his office 
of Amir-ul-amra (' Premier') was transferred to 


Zabita, while the Emperor made, or confirmed, the 
grant of the Lower Doab to the Marathas. These 
events occurred in December 1772, just a twelvemonth 
after the Restoration. Hardly were they concluded 
when news arrived from Poona which disturbed all 
plans. The young Peshwa had not exercised inde- 
pendent authority more than seven years when 
he died, probably from the effects of a disorder 
from which he had long suffered, on the 18th 
November. The Regency was resumed by his uncle, 
Rughnath Rao, or, as the British called him, 'Ragoba,' 
who was known to aspire to the actual Peshwaship. 
An era of conflict, perhaps of civil war, was felt to be 
at hand: the first thought of the Quarter-Master- 
General and the other Chiefs was to reach Poona and 
be ready to take a hand in any eventualities. Indeed 
the new Peshwa himself issued the order for their 
recall, feeling that he might need the support of the 
army against the ambitious machinations of his 
uncle. • 

Before either Sindhia or Holkar, however, made 
their way to the capital other developments were 
taking shape. On 30th August, 1773, the new Peshwa 
had followed his brother to the funeral pyre, assassin- 
ated, as was supposed, by the aspiring Raghuba, who 
assumed the title and office of Peshwa and commenced 
hostilities against the Musalman Chiefs of the south, 
Haidar and the Nizam. But, before he could derive 
the advantage he hoped for from these gratuitous 
attacks upon his neighbours, he was recalled to Poona 
E % 


by tidings of an event which threatened all his 
ambitious projects. The party opposed to him had 
already taken the precaution of removing the late 
Peshwa's pregnant widow to the security of a 
mountain fastness, where she was now safely delivered 
of a boy. This infant was at once proclaimed Peshwa 
by the ministers at Poona; and being attacked by 
Raghuba, they inflicted on him a crushing defeat under 
the walls of that city. Raghuba fled north to meet the 
returning army, and arrived at Indore just as Sindhia 
and Holkar, the two Chiefs of Malwa, had pitched 
their camp there. Both Chiefs promised him their 
support ; and they then turned aside into Gujarat, 
with Raghuba, in order to secure for him the support 
of the Gaekwar who ruled that province. Their next 
measure, suggested probably by Sindhia, was to seek 
an alliance with the British authorities at Bombay, 
then a very minor factory on one of the islands of the 
archipelago on the Konkan coast supposed to have 
been the Heptanesia of *Arrian. The Company's 
servants there had long desired to round off the 
possessions of their employers by the acquisition of 
the old Portuguese harbour of Bassein and of the 
extensive island of Salsette which barred their own 
port ; and they now, without consulting the Governor- 
General, promised to furnish Raghuba with British 
troops on condition of his obtaining these coveted 
places and paying for the support of the contingent. 
So eager, indeed, were the members of the Bombay 
Council that they lent Raghuba a force of 1500 sepoys 


without obtaining his formal consent to the equivalent 
cession. The places in question, moreover, were on 
fair grounds claimed by the Portuguese ; and, as soon 
as the nature of the negotiations became known at 
Goa, the Viceroy there began to set on foot an ex- 
pedition for their recovery. Upon hearing of this 
Governor Hornby, without further ado, took summary 
possession both of Salsette and of Bassein. 

As we are not tracing the history of British India 
it will not be necessary that the reader should be 
troubled with detailed comments on these proceedings : 
it will be enough to observe that they were hasty and 
ill- conceived. Nevertheless, had Mr. Hornby secured 
the sanction and support of the Supreme Government, 
to which recent parliamentary enactment had rendered 
him subordinate, and had his audacity been seconded 
by due courage and ability among his military officers, 
Raghuba might have been installed as Peshwa, and 
much of the history of Madhava Rao Sindhia and 
of Hindustan might have been different from what 
it was. 

But, before any active measures could be taken by 
Raghuba and his supporters, the Poona Regency had 
been at work upon some of the latter. Holkar's 
patroness, the daughter-in-law of the late Malhar 
Rao, was a lady of singular ability and virtue, whose 
sympathies were easily gained for the other widow 
and the innocent child of her late sovereign. Sindhia, 
also, who at this period usually acted with the 
Holkar clan who were his partners in Malwa, with- 


drew from the cause of the usurper. Raghuba was 
once more defeated, and he fled to the camp of 
Colonel Keating at Surat with a slender following, 
in December, 1774. 

The consequence was afresh treaty between Raghuba 
and the Bombay factory, still without the sanction of 
the Supreme Government, by which the occupation of 
Salsette and Bassein was confirmed with territory 
yielding a large revenue, in consideration whereof, 
and of a large present payment, the British contingent 
was to be doubled in strength. Keating was reinforced 
and ordered to march on Poona in order to instal 
Raghuba by force of arms ; and the Regency promptly 
ordered out all their available forces to repulse the 
movement. The armies manoeuvred about Surat; 
and, in spite of an almost overwhelming superiority 
of numbers, the host of the darbar of Regency was 
finally encountered by Keating. His own force 
was but small, and the troops of Raghuba hampered 
rather than assisted their operations. In very difficult 
ground, at a place called Aras near the head of the 
gulf of Cambay, Keating fought a severe action in 
which he lost two hundred and twenty-two men, 
among them seven European officers, and only defeated 
the enemy at last by his own intrepidity and the good 
behaviour of his small British contingent. This was 
on the 1 8th May, 1775. In the evening of the 10th 
June he overtook them at Bhaopir, near Broach : but 
again the troops of Raghuba encumbered his attack ; 
and the army of the Regency escaped during the 


night, throwing their guns into the Narbada lest 
their flight should be impeded. 

These things, we may be sure, did not escape the 
notice of Sindhia. That shrewd observer was never 
slow to learn a lesson, whether in politics or in war ; 
and the course of his conduct might have been at 
once determined by what he then learned of the value 
of discipline and military conduct, as displayed by 
the British, had not their political vacillations, due to ' 
causes then beyond his ken, introduced a disturbing 
influence. Not that Warren Hastings by any means 
approved of the doings of the Bombay Government ; 
but he felt that they had compromised British credit. 
He had to accept an accomplished fact. If you kept 
the ceded districts, and no one proposed their sur- 
render except the ministry at Poona, you were bound 
to fulfil the terms on which they had been obtained. 
But, here again, he was in a minority. Francis and 
his colleagues, whose resolutions Hastings had no 
power to reverse, were determined to do the things 
that they ought not to have done while omitting 
to do the things that they ought to have done. So 
Colonel Upton was sent to Poona, as a special Envoy 
from the Government of Bengal, made supreme by 
the Regulating Act of 1773, and his orders were to 
disavow the proceedings of the Bombay Council, 
and to open negotiations with the defeated Regency. 
Mistaking Upton's moderation of manner for weakness, 
the Regency took at first high and menacing ground. 
But when the Bengal Council became informed that 

72 mAdhava rAo sindhia 

the terms proposed included not only the surrender 
of Baghuba but the restoration of the ceded territory, 
that body rejected the claims. Eventually a com- 
promise ensued, certain articles being agreed to 
between Colonel Upton, of the one part, and Sukh 
Earn Bapu and his colleagues, of the other, which 
were embodied in the Treaty of Purandhar. Baghuba 
was to be abandoned, if not actually given up, hi3 
army being disbanded. Salsette was to be retained, 
so long as the Governor-General might think proper ; 
the rents of Broach and the surrounding district were 
to be given up by the darbar, with a war indemnity 
of twelve lakhs of rupees. 

Neither the Bombay Council nor its protege was 
disposed to submit to these conditions. The ministers 
at Poona soon found that their diplomatic successes 
were more apparent than real. The moving spirit 
there was the old Brahman, Pandit Sukh Earn Bapu, 
a cautious but resolute man, who had been supported 
in these affairs by a young rival who was beginning 
to push himself to the front. This man, also a 
Brahman, was named Balaji Janardhan, better known 
by his official title of ' Nana Farnavis ' (v. p. 43). For 
purposes of his own the Nana had acted with Pandit 
Sukh Earn : and being in secret the paramour of 
Ganga Bai, mother of the young Peshwa, he was 
necessarily a valuable ally. It was one of Sindhia's 
constant objects to act as umpire between opposing 
parties in the Poona darbar ; but, now that opposition 
was for the moment ended, he was naturally driven 


into general hostility, the more bo as he had an old- 
standing grudge against Sukh Ram who had never 
been his friend. 

While Poona politics -were in this condition Ra- 
ghubas conduct gave rise to fresh complications. 
Repudiating the Treaty of Purandhar to which he had, 
of course, been no party, he peremptorily declined to 
disband his troops and repaired to the British station 
of Surat, where he was welcomed and harboured by 
the Bombay Government. Colonel Upton vainly pro- 
tested against what he deemed an infraction of the 
treaty : Raghuba appealed to the Court of Directors ; 
and Warren Hastings supported the appeal. Orders 
eventually came out from London, in virtue of which 
the articles of the treaty were tacitly abrogated, and 
Raghuba was invited to Bombay, where he was received 
with honour and granted a monthly stipend of ten 
thousand rupees (November, 1776). 

Affairs at Poona became more and more com- 
plicated. Early in 1777 a French adventurer, named 
St. Lubin, landed on the coast and represented himself 
to the ministers at Poona as an ambassador from 
the Court of Versailles. Elated by this unexpected 
alliance, the Nana began to give offence to his col- 
leagues. Sukh Ram took alarm and joined with other 
powerful personages in a scheme for the restoration of 
Raghuba, with which object negotiations were opened 
with the Bombay Government. As Taktiji Holkar 
espoused the quarrel and lent the aid of his troops, 
the Nana, who was not by nature a fighting man, 


judged it prudent to retire ; and the Bombay Council, 
with the approval of the Supreme Government, which 
sent a force under Colonel Leslie to operate in support, 
declared the intention of restoring Raghuba by force 
of arms. 

In this conjunction of events Sindhia recovered his 
favourite position of umpire. He was at no time per- 
haps, certainly not at this time, on terms of personal 
hostility towards the Nana. Towards Sukh Earn, on 
the other hand, he was never friendly. With Takuji 
Holkar he had many ties of comradeship and old asso- 
ciation. He at once threw all his power and influence 
into the Nana's side of the scales. Accompanied by 
the famous Hari Panth, and having detached Holkar 
from the side of Sukh Ram, he marched upon Puran- 
dhar, and restored the Nana to office, on the 8th June, 

Still, things were far from looking bad for Raghuba* s 
cause ; under orders from home, it was warmly 
espoused by both the Governments of Bombay and 
Bengal. Undaunted by the restoration to power of 
the Nana Farnavis, unmindful of the Treaty of 
Purandhar and of the fact that they had no right 
to interfere since St. Lubin had been dismissed from 
Poona and had left India, and without awaiting the 
arrival of the still distant Bengal column, the Bombay 
authorities resolved to attack the Regency without 
delay. Assembling a force of 4000 men, of whom a 
fourth part consisted of British troops, they gave the 
command to a valetudinarian of ripe years but raw 


experience, named Egerton. To ensure their views 
being enforced they associated with him a member 
of their own body. General Carnac, who had left 
Bengal with a not too brilliant record. Professing 
the utmost need for haste they allowed three months 
to go by in preparation and in marches of two miles 
a day. On the other side Sindhia, having effected a 
reconciliation between old Sukh Ram and the Nana, 
assembled a strong force on the top of the Ghats. 
On the 9th January the British force arrived at 
Talegaon, twenty miles from Poona: but it got no 
farther. The commanding officer fell sick, the 
military Member of Council lost his head ; the column 
was hemmed in and cowed into retreat; officers and 
men became demoralised ; the stores were burned, the 
guns thrown into a pond : it was mainly due to the 
courage and conduct of one officer, Captain Hartley, 
that the troops were enabled to reach Wadgaon, just 
three miles to the rear. By the 13th the little column 
had lost three hundred and fifty-two of the original 
number, including no less than fifteen European 
officers. A convention became necessary, a condition 
of which was the extradition of the Pretender 5 but 
Raghuba saved the British officers this great degrada- 
tion by voluntary agreement with Sindhia, to whom he 
ultimately surrendered. When the British agent urged 
that he had no power to treat for the surrender of 
territory, Sindhia replied by a rapid thrust of debating 
dexterity. ' Show us, then/ he replied, ■ the authority 
by which you have broken the Treaty of Purandhar.' 

7 6 mAdhava rAo sindhia 

Sindhia was urbane and clement, but exacted the fullest 
surrender possible. The advance of the Bengal column 
was to be instantly countermanded: for himself 
personally he insisted on the cession of Broach with 
a gift of forty-one thousand rupees as gratuities to 
his followers. 

This disgraceful affair led to unexpected results. 
The officers who had caused the disaster and signed 
the convention were dismissed the service ; the Bengal 
column pursued its march towards Central India ; 
strangest of all, Sindhia began to hesitate in the 
scheme, to which he had hitherto shown favour, of a 
general combination against the British. How far he 
was actuated by unwillingness to see the Nana grow 
too powerful, how far he had been impressed by the 
conduct of Hartley and his gallant soldiers, cannot 
be accurately determined 1 . In any case he connived 
at the escape of Raghuba, who repaired to British 
protection at Broach with messages of goodwill from 
his liberator by way of credentials. 

In the meantime the Bengal column was delayed by 
the hostility of various Chiefs in Bundelkhand and by 
the operations which Colonel Leslie felt himself bound 
to undertake against them. But Leslie died in Octo- 
ber; and his place was taken by Colonel Goddard 
whom Hastings — now supreme in his own Council — 
had already chosen as his successor. Urged by 
pressing appeals from Bombay, Goddard hastened on. 
He crossed the Narbada 2nd December, and reached 
Surat on 6th February, escaping by this promptitude 
1 v. inf. p. 197. 


from encountering a body of 20,000 cavalry which had 
been sent from Poona to intercept him. On the 15th 
April he opened negotiations with the darbar, on the 
basis of the Treaty of Purandhar, with an additional 
clause directed against the interference of France. 
With regard to Sindhia, Goddard was authorised to 
offer separate arrangements, as the Governor- General 
was sensible of his humanity in sparing Egerton's 
force at Wadgaon, and thought he might become a 
useful ally for the future. But Sindhia had not 
then quite made up his mind, although he had not 
scrupled to avow his warm appreciation of the British 

About this time Sukh Earn Bapu fell into the 
hands of his enemies, as was suspected by Sindhia s 
connivance. He was conveyed from one fortress to 
another, and ultimately died at Raigarh. Goddard, 
for his part, avoided any further interference in the 
domestic affairs of the Marathas ; and, though he 
was treated personally with the utmost liberality, 
Raghuba was not again forced upon an unwilling 
community. The Nana refused to make peace as long 
as Raghuba was not surrendered ; accordingly the 
British General, who had now been appointed Com- 
mander-in-Chief of the Bombay army, prepared for 
extremities. On the 15th February, 1780, Ahmadabad, 
the capital of Gujarat, was stormed by the gallant 
Hartley — now a Lieutenant-Colonel — and on the 29th, 
Sindhia, accompanied by Holkar, advanced to Baroda 
as if to attack the British forces. 

78 mAdhava rAo sindhia 

Still no overt act of hostility took place : and the 
hostages whom Sindhia had retained as security for 
the fulfilment of the convention of Wadgaon were 
restored to liberty and came into Goddard's camp on 
9th March. Sindhia even attempted to learn from 
the General what terms he might expect; but the 
reply was to ask him to state his own demands. Thus 
challenged, Sindhia demanded that he should be made 
Regent at Poona, on behalf of Raghuba's younger son, 
Baji Rao — the same who was afterwards the last of 
the Peshwas. As nothing serious seemed to be in- 
tended, and Sindhia was at the same time making 
secret overtures to Goddard's native allies, it was 
determined to read him a fresh lesson, and after 
repeated attacks he was driven over the Narbada. 

The war, in fact, was becoming a duel between 
Sindhia and Warren Hastings ; and for some twelve 
months the two ablest men in India faced one another 
in earnest conflict. The last decisive blow but one 
was struck in Gwalior, a region which the Sindhias 
had added to their possessions in North Malwa. The 
following description of the Gwalior Fort is abstracted 
from the Imperial Gazetteer of India : — 

'The fort of Gwalior stands, then, on an isolated 
rock of sandstone, capped in places with basalt, and 
having a perpendicular face. Where the rock is less 
precipitous by nature it has been artificially scarped ; 
so that, in some portions, the upper portion actually 
projects over the part below. Its greatest length is 
a mile and a half ; its greatest breadth 300 yards ; 


the maximum height is 342 feet. It contains an old 
Mughal palace, and was formerly used as a place 
of confinement, like the Tower of London, for 
members of the royal family and other prisoners of 
high rank or important character. In the dismem- 
berment of the Empire it was seized by the Jat 
Rana of Gohad, now represented by the Maharana 
of Dholpur ; but Sindhia had lately taken possession 
of it and strengthened the defences ' (Imp. Gaz. v. 
234 «.). 

Hither on 3rd August 1780 came, invited by the 
Rana of Gohad, a brisk officer named Popham, 
instructed by Hastings to stir up a confederation 
of Jats and Rajputs in Sindhia s rear. Preparing 
his scaling-ladders in the deepest secrecy, and placing 
confidence in no one . but his able and resolute 
engineer, Captain Bruce *, Popham crossed the Cham- 
bal at Dholpur, and marched swiftly on Gwalior, 
whither he sent forward a storming-party of twenty 
picked men under Bruce, whom he supported in person 
with a strong reserve. Shod with cotton, to muffle 
the sound of their footfall, the men reached the foot 
of the rock, in a dark night, without attracting 
observation ; and, guided by some thieves who knew 
the place, they lay quiet while the rounds were 
passing on the walls above. When the lights and 
voices had passed on they laid their ladders against 
the rock ; and, softly mounting, surprised the guard, 
whom they overpowered and bound. Popham followed, 
1 Brother to James Bruce, the Abyssinian traveller. 

80 mAdhava rAo sindhia 

and captured the apparently impregnable fort with- 
out losing a single soldier. 

The taking of Gwalior had an immediate effect 
on political ideas and movements. The Nana's 
agent in the camp of Sindhia wrote to Poona to say- 
that the cause would not have* the support of the 
Delhi Government. As for that Chief himself, he 
was always swift to take a hint ; and he must have 
felt that, isolated as he now was, and opposed to 
an adversary whom he had very good reason to 
believe his master, the friendship of the British 
might be found of more benefit to him than their 
hostility, in the furtherance of his ulterior designs. 
For, if we may judge from subsequent events, 
Sindhia was already planning a great scheme, of 
which these foreigners in Bengal were only so far 
a part as he might utilise them for his purpose. 
That purpose was the creation for himself of a 
position of paramount power on the ruins of the 
Mughal Empire. To that object the relations that 
he might establish at Poona and Calcutta were 
subsidiary ; Sindhia would not willingly have on his 
hands any hostility from such powerful neighbours ; 
but he would, so far as lay in his power, enforce 
respectful treatment, if not positive support. This 
appears to be the key to his attitude in both 
directions. He desired no quarrel with Holkar and 
the Nana, whose benevolent neutrality was almost 
as important to him as their active support. With 
regard to Hastings his needs were almost the same ; 


yet he resolved, if possible, to strike back a moni- 
tory, if not a retaliatory, blow before entering into 
peaceful negotiations. He therefore marched against 
the British in the Gwalior country, the more 
hopefully since Popham was gone and Popham's 
successor, Major Camac, seemed a little inclined to 
avoid an encounter. But the sagacious Bruce was 
still there, with another nocturnal surprise. Sindhia's 
camp was suddenly beaten up ; he lost elephants, 
horses, baggage ; but he gained what was worth more 
than all, a knowledge of the facts of the case that 
never greatly failed him afterwards. 

This affair, 24th March, 1781, was the end of 
the struggle between Sindhia and Hastings ; and 
it may be noted as much to the credit of one of the 
antagonists as of the other. Never again, in the 
weakest period of Shore and Cornwallis, did Sindhia 
appear in arms against the British or fail in respect 
to their expressed claims or wishes. It is a prime 
characteristic of Warren Hastings that whatever he 
did was done for good ; he never built with bad 
materials or on foundations of sand. It is equally 
characteristic of Sindhia that he never, when once 
he had learned them, forgot the limits of his own 

On 13th October of the same year Mr. Hastings 
concluded, through the agency of Colonel Muir, a 
negotiation in which he accorded to Sindhia the 
handsome treatment that one able antagonist ought 
always to know how to give to another. Hastings 


restored to Sindhia both Gwalior and Ujjain, together 
with all his previous possessions south and west of 
the Jumna river; and the only condition of these 
lavish grants was that Sindhia should do his best to 
persuade the ministry at Poona to' consent to make 
peace \ 

The result was the Treaty of Salbai (17th May, 
1782) ; an instrument whose importance may be easily 
overlooked, but which made an epoch in history. 
For it was by means of that treaty that, without 
annexing a square mile of territory, the British power 
became virtually paramount in the greater part of the 
Indian peninsula, every province of which, with the 
one exception of Mysore, acknowledged that power as 
the great universal peacemaker. It was no mean title. 

Although Sindhia signed in May on behalf of the 
confederation for which he acted, yet the Nana, with 
his customary caution, delayed the ratification as long 
as possible. He still cherished the hope that the 
British might be persuaded to restore Salsette; and 
even went so far as to give currency to a rumour that 
the Peshwa s Government was negotiating a separate 
treaty with Haidar c Ali of Mysore. To such a threat 
the British could not but be extremely sensitive, 
seeing that this ancient enemy was still plotting the 
ruin of their cause with Bussy and other of their 
inveterate foes. But the death of Haidar in December 
tore the last shred of this pretence ; and before the 
end of the month the treaty received the signature of 
the Nana and the seal of the Confederacy. 

1 v. inf. p. 202. 


The general pacification, however, was incomplete 
without the adhesion of Mysore, where Tipu the son 
of Haidar c Ali had succeeded to his father's possessions 
and passions if not to his abilities. Such was the 
eagerness of the Madras Government for peace that 
it sent representatives to the camp of Tipu prepared 
to undergo whatever insults the barbaric malice of 
that modern Hannibal might choose to offer; and 
it was not till the 10th March, 1783, that, amidst 
circumstances of deep humiliation, Tipu gave a 
grudging and sullen adhesion to the pacification, by 
signing the Treaty of Mangalore. 

But both sides were equally weary of the war ; and 
Hastings was beginning to set his house in order with 
an eye to laying down his office and leaving the 
country. He recognised the real master of the country 
powers not in Tipu the arrogant, ill-tempered Chief 
of Mysore, but in the self-restrained and politic soldier 
of the Mar&thas. He therefore condescended to give 
Sindhia frank explanations of his reasons for confirm- 
ing the Treaty of Mangalore and for leaving undisturbed 
the deplorable proceedings of the Madras Government ; 
and he succeeded in showing his intelligent corre- 
spondent that it was for the welfare and interest of 
both of them that things should be as they were. 

Nothing, in fact, could give a higher conception of 
the position to which Sindhia's talents and courage 
had raised him than the fact that while a statesman 
such as Hastings could solicit his good offices in the 
cause of peace, he should in the same affair be vested 
F % 

84 mAdhava rAo sindhia 

with plenipotentiary powers by a politician so crafty 
as the Nana. At the same time the terms agreed 
upon do credit to his reputation for good sense and 
moderation. The Gujarat question was left as in 
1775, so that the territories of the Gaekwar were 
preserved from dismemberment ; and Eaghuba, the 
restless, was pensioned off handsomely and allowed 
to choose his own residence. For himself Sindhia 
secured what he most wanted, a free hand in Central 
India and Hindustan. By this masterly arrangement 
he delivered himself, it may be said, from all fear of 
interruption in his great design. The opposition of 
the Nana was held in complete check by the ever 
possible competition of Eaghuba and his sons ; while 
the interference of the British was, so to speak, dis- 
counted. James Mill x professes to suspect something 
mysterious in the understanding between Sindhia and 
Hastings at this juncture ; . but the matter appears 
plain enough. Hastings had sufficient experience of 
factious opposition to know that delicate negotiations, 
such as these undoubtedly were, demanded secrecy; 
but the general idea at which he was aiming is as 
clear as possible. The Empire had fallen : the British 
had taken such portions of it as were required for 
their commercial purposes : it was to their interest 
that the rest of the peninsula should be under the rule 
most conducive to peace and order; and that rule 
was, evidently, Sindhia's. 

The name of Warren Hastings was to Mill what 

1 History of British India, vol. v (ed. Wilson). 


the mention of the Church was to Gibbon, a dis- 
turbing element which made everything with which 
it was connected appear through a refracting medium. 
It can hardly be necessary to notice the 'solemn 
sneer ' with which the Treaty of Salbai is regarded by 
the able historian of British India, whose work is one 
of the great monuments of our literature notwith- 
standing such defects. The arrangement was slow, 
sure, and almost natural in its fitness : it may be 
almost said to have been tantamount to a temporary 
partition of the peninsula between the two statesmen 
who had become its masters. Its direct effects lasted 
beyond the life of one of the contracting chiefs, beyond 
the public life of both ; indirectly it was the corner- 
stone of the British Indian Empire. Setting apart the 
territories of Tipii and the Nizam, Sindhia was free 
to deal as he chose with all parts not ruled by the 
British. Hastings, the only British Indian ruler who 
never made an annexation, secured the interests of 
his country in the best way by leaving the rest in 
the hands of his wisest and ablest contemporary. In 
the great competitive examination which had been 
going on for many years, Sindhia had come out first 
and taken all the prizes. 

Nor was Hastings content with a merely academic 
or Platonic approval: to clench the arrangement he 
sent a British mission to Delhi, as if to publish the 
alliance to the world and smooth the way for his ally 
in a path of thorn and pitfall from which he osten- 
tatiously withheld his own footsteps. On that path 

86 mAdhava rAo sindhia 

Sindhia was now to enter. Hitherto we have seen 
little but formative circumstance and the quiet 
tenacity with which he adapted his conduct and 
character to his surroundings without losing sight 
of his ultimate object. Henceforth we shall see him 
working forward by a brighter light and with an 
ampler record. 

Delhi Politics under the Restored Empire 

In order that we should fully appreciate the dif- 
ficulties which had been obstructing Sindhia's great 
design, we must first look back to 1773 and observe 
what had been going on in the court and camp of the 
Emperor Shah 'Alam since the main army of the 
Marathas retired from Hindustan in the hot season 
of that year. They had left garrisons in Rohilkhand, 
and they maintained a secret communication with 
Hafiz Rahmat Khan, the Protector of the Rohilla State. 
They had also an understanding of the same kind 
with other Musalman Chiefs whom they had corrupted, 
with Zabita Khan for example, and with the courtier 
named Hissam-ud-daula — the same who had been 
their agent in the matter of the Restoration. 

The cause of the Ex-Minister, Mirza Najaf Khan, 
however, was supported by his old friend the Nawab, 
who was a Shia like himself and hereditary Wazir of 
the Empire. In Warren Hastings the Mirza had a 
still more influential friend ; so that, when the Nawab 
Wazir had determined to press the Rohillas to a final 
settlement, it was a matter alike easy and important 

88 mAdhava rAo sindhia 

to reinstate the Mirz& in the post from whence 
Zabita had dislodged him with the aid of Holkar and 
the Quarter-Master-General. 

Hafiz Rahmat was in no hurry to see the Marathas 
expelled from Rohilkhand ; but he could not help 
himself. The Nawab Wazir and Sir R. Barker drove 
out all their garrisons after a feeble resistance, beating 
them again in the Doab, and finally driving them across 
the Chambal in the month of October. Rohilkhand 
was saved, in spite of its ruler. The Nawab now 
peremptorily demanded the forty lakhs which had 
been the stipulated price of the service which he had 
performed ; but the Protector had no intention to pay, 
and replied by transparent evasions. A British brigade 
therefore proceeded to Anupshahr to occupy Ahmad 
Shah's old cantonment; it was commanded by Sir 
Robert Barker, who was one of the witnesses to the 
agreement between the Nawab and the Rohillas 1 . 
The Mirza, who had taken refuge in Barker's camp, 
was at the same time sent back to Delhi, with strong 
letters of recommendation from the Nawab and from 
the British commander ; and he resumed his office as 
Deputy- Wazir. As he was escorted by the Frenchman 
M^doc and a disciplined body-guard, the intrusive 
Zabita found it expedient to retire to the Jats of 
Bhartpur ; and Hissam-ud-daula, whose back-stairs' 
influence had procured him the administration of the 
Home-demesnes, was relieved of his charge and 
called to a strict account ; his place being given to 

1 See Trotter's Warren Hastings, in this series. 


one 'Abdul Ahid Khan., an effeminate Kashmirian who 
took the title of Majid-ud-daula \ Manztir 'Ali Khan 
was at the same time appointed Nazir — Steward — 
of the Imperial Household. The fortified palace of 
Agra was entrusted to a Persian immigrant named 
Muhammad Beg Khan. 

So far, therefore, it might seem that any scheme of 
creating a Hindu power on the Jumna would be 
difficult, if not hopeless. The Marathas had been 
driven out of Hindustan by a Musalman combination, 
almost as decisively as had been done by Ahmad Shah 
twelve years before. And the present Muhammadan 
league had the support of the new and mysterious 
power that was now forcing its way, by battle and 
intrigue, in all the regions of the lower Ganges. 
Goddard and Popham were yet to come ; but the 
British had already beaten to submission the powerful 
Nawab Wazir, and were now giving him support and 
active aid. The mere humiliation of the Court of 
Poona Sindhia could have endured ; he would be able 
to bear any disappointments experienced by the Nana 
with unruffled resignation. But it might well have 
daunted him to find a strong and virtuous Persian 
nobleman in possession of the resources of a re- 
stored Empire, with an indefinite prospect of support 
from the hereditary Wazir, master of the rich and 

1 Majid = 'illustrious.' Titles terminating in daula (more pro- 
perly daulat) indicate the second grade in Neo-Mughal Peerage: 
those in mulk being the first. Arkdn-i- daulat = ' Pillars of the State,' 
meant nobles in general, or ■ Peers of the Realm/ 

90 mAdhava rAo sindhia 

populous province of Oudh, and strengthened by- 
British bayonets. 

The Mirza's next step was to obtain the sanction 
of the Emperor to the foreclosure of Rohilkhand. 
Vehement denunciations of Warren Hastings for his 
share in this transaction have been so long and so 
generally accepted that the real nature of it has 
been almost overlooked. The province of Katahr 
was as much a part of the Empire as the Subah of 
Agra; and it had been held, within living memory, 
by the nobleman who, afterwards transferred to the 
Deccan, availed himself of the weakness of the 
Empire to found a hereditary power there. But 
not one of these so-formed powers, neither this of 
the Nizam in the Deccan, nor those of the Nawabs of 
Bengal and Oudh, had any legal base but in patents 
from the Imperial Chancery, which were as much 
liable to revocation as any other administrative 
order. When, therefore, the Pathans, about the year 
1743, took advantage of the havoc produced at Delhi 
by Nadir Shdh to seize the province, they no more 
made it their own than the Jats did with the 
fortified palace of Agra and surrounding districts. 
The latter Najib-ud-daula had been able to dispossess ; 
and the Mirza kept them away by defending the 
country with his own unaided forces ; but the Pathans 
remained in Katahr ; they changed its name to 
Rohilkhand ; they exercised sovereign powers in it, 
though in a most anarchic fashion, and they had, 
as we have seen, illusively promised to join in a 


league against the Marathas and to pay for the 
expulsion of the latter in cash. 

It now appeared that these Rohilla Pathans were 
both unable and disloyal. They could not govern 
the province that they had usurped, nor could they 
resist the Marathas ; and they would not pay those 
who came to their assistance. It was therefore a fair 
political question whether this inefficient military 
colony should be allowed to continue in possession of 
a province on which they brought nothing but ruin, 
or whether it should be transferred to a strong 
neighbour who was also the highest officer in the 
Empire. With the action of Mr. Hastings we 
have here no concern; but the candid reader has 
now the means of referring to the records of the 
Calcutta Foreign Office, where he will find materials 
for drawing his own conclusion 1 . That Shuja-ud- 
daula was actuated by personal ambition is only to 
say that he was an ordinary politician with plenty 
of human nature about him. He had performed the 
stipulated service, he had not received the stipulated 
price, and he was very glad of the opportunity afforded 
him by the repudiation. That is the worst that can 
be said of this transaction ; and it is very little to 
its discredit regard being had to the public morality 
of India at that time. In January, 1774, the Wazir 
made his last appeal for payment; and on 12th 
April entered Rohilkhand, supported by a British 
brigade. The following is the contemporaneous 
1 See Prof. Forrest's Selections, published at Calcutta (1890). 


native account of the state of the country, as recorded 
by the historian of the Rohillas : — 

'A surprising state of animosity and discord 
existed in Rohilcund, and each person was earnestly 
bent on the eradication of his neighbour.' He adds 
that life and property were unprotected and the lands 
held at a rack-rent. It was high time that such 
a condition of affairs should cease. The Protector 
had no support from the general population. The 
Emperor, who had by this time given the Wazir a 
patent of investiture, moved in support at the head 
of some of his own troops. The British sent a good 
brigade of their regular troops from Bengal. On the 
23rd April the Protector was attacked by the allies, 
and overthrown after a desperate resistance in which 
he lost his life. The victory was attributed to the 
British contingent, of whose artillery a native author 
says that ' nothing can withstand it save a particular 
interposition of Providence/ The Protector was him- 
self cut in two by a chain-shot from those ' dreadful ' 

The Nawab Wazir, Shuja-ud-dauld, did not long 
survive his new acquisition ; for he died on 29th 
January, 1775. He was succeeded in his possessions 
and honours by his son Asaf-ud-dauld, a weak and 
heartless voluptuary, who never left his province or 
took any avoidable part in public affairs. Mirza 
Najaf was left to carry on the duties of an absentee 
Chief almost unaided. His first operations were 
against the Bhartpur Jats, whom he encountered at 


Barsana, between Mathura and Bhartpur. European 
officers were serving on both sides ; besides Medoc, the 
Mirza's infantry was led by the Count de Moidavre, 
and the Chevaliers de Cre?y and du Drenec — the latter 
a man of whom we shall hear again hereafter. On 
the Jat side the attack was begun by the brigade of 
Keinhardt, or Sombre, with volleys of musketry and 
repeated showers of grape from the field-pieces. The 
Mirza was wounded, but he charged the enemy's line 
with his cuirassiers ; and Sombre, after his custom, 
slowly drew off his men, forming them up under 
the protection of his guns : next day he joined the 
victor. Two of the strongest places were besieged and 
captured before Midsummer; and the complete ruin 
of the Jats was probably averted only by a diversion 
caused in the Mirza's rear by the irrepressible Zabita. 
That faithless son of Islam was never disposed to 
leave a stone unturned; and he had now engaged 
Sikh assistance in another snatch at power. The 
Mirza on hearing of this returned to Delhi just in 
time to save the Emperor from being attacked in his 
palace ; he then proceeded northward to chastise 
Zabita and his infidel associates. The Emperor 
himself followed with a brigade contributed to his aid 
by the Nawab c Asaf-ud-daula ; and Zabita had to 
keep company with the Sikhs and retreat with them 
over the Jumna to Panipat. Here an engagement of 
some severity took place, without any decisive result. 
Next day Zabita contrived to conciliate the commander 
of the Oudh brigade, a eunuch named Latafat Khan, 


by whose aid he obtained his pardon on condition of 
retiring to his fief in the Upper Do£b ; the ' Fifty-two 
Parganas' which now form part of the Saharanpur 
and Muzaffarnagar districts. 

In 1777 the Mirza retired to Agra, attended by 
Sombre, who had joined his service after the battle of 
Barsana and taken over the post of M^doc : the latter, 
in 1780, retired to Europe: the Governor of the Fort 
was, like the Mirza himself, a Persian immigrant, whose 
name was Muhammad Beg Hamdani (' of Hamadan '). 
In Oudh 'Asaf-ud-daula, sunk in vice and cruelty, 
was beginning that course of misrule which eventually 
led to the ruin of his line. Shah c Alam, immured in 
the palace of his ancestors, became daily more indolent 
and yielding: in 1778 indeed his constant counsellor 
Majid-ud-daula led him to an abortive attack upon 
Jaipur, where it was hoped to gain some money by 
requisition ; but the quest proved barren. A military 
governor being sent to the Sutlej was killed by the 
Sikhs, about the end of the year ; and to punish this 
offence Majid, who had no experience of war, led an 
expedition into the Punjab which was beaten, driven 
back on Delhi, and only saved by the exertions of the 
European gunners. In the beginning of 1779 the 
Upper Doab was accordingly overrun by the victorious 
Sikhs, who laid the country waste and even cut 
down the trees. Majid did nothing beyond opening 
negotiations with Madhoji Sindhia to whom he held 
out hopes of obtaining Bengal, Behar and Orissa 
whenever the British could be expelled. Sindhia was 


not then on good terms with the British, as we have 
seen, but he had an inkling of what they could do ; 
and he did not look upon the present offer as having 
a more practical character than bargaining for the 
skin of an unslain bear. He knew the strength of the 
Mirza, though at a distance, much better than did the 
Kashmirian on the spot ; and the negotiations came 
to nothing. 

But the contemptuous abstention of the Mirza was 
not proof against the distress of his sovereign and 
of the people whom that sovereign was too weak to 
protect. From the walls of Delhi men could see the 
smoke of burning villages, when suddenly the Mirza s 
approach became known. Majid was put into close 
arrest, and his wealth, acquired by peculation, was 
confiscated to the public treasury. A strong force 
was sent to check the Sikhs, under command of the 
minister's nephew, Mirza Shafi'. Encountering the 
disciplined troops of the Mughal minister, the Sikhs 
were defeated, near Mirath (Meerut) with a loss of 
5000 men, and the survivors hurriedly retreated to 
the Punjab. 

Profiting by experience the Mirza resolved to re- 
main at Court, and Sombre having died, the command 
of his brigade devolved on his concubine 1 , who was 
baptized by the Romish priest there in 1781 by the 
style of ' Joanna Nobilis.' This is the remarkable 
woman known in the nineteenth century as Begam 

1 Reinhardt's lawful wife survived him, and so did his issue by 
her ; but she was insane and the son a minor. 

96 mAdhava rAo sindhia 

Sombre, or Samru, of Sardhana. Sombre's tomb is 
still to be seen in the Catholic cemetery at Agra. 

The Mirza himself deceased on 26th April, 1782. 
Resolute in adversity and merciful in success, free 
from cruelty or falsehood and possessed of that 
genuine courtesy which proceeds from natural bene- 
volence, he left a fatal vacuum in the politics of 
Hindustan. The succession to his office and his 
property was unscrupulously fought out between his 
nephew, Mirza Shaft', and a favourite follower, 
Afrasyab Khan. The former was shot in a pro- 
fessedly friendly interview in the end of September 
1783 ; and Afrasyab obtained his desire in becoming 
the administrator of a ruined country under an 
incapable sovereign. A heavy famine now fell upon 
Hindustan, by reason of two years of previous 
drought: the year (1840 Sambat) is still commemo- 
rated, in popular tradition, as the Ghdlisa (' The 
Forty'). On the 13th of May, 1784, wheat was selling 
at Lahore for about ten times the customary price. 
A witness who had been in Sindhia's army (after- 
wards the famous Colonel Jas. Skinner, C.B.) used to 
relate that so reduced was the number of human 
beings, so utterly cowed their spirit, that only a few 
villages were left, scattered at wide intervals and 
deprived of intercommunication by the tigers who 
prowled upon the roads. Another contemporary has 
recorded that wild beasts preyed upon starved bodies 
in open daylight. 

Amid all these horrors there was still a yearning 


for national unity and a respect for the eclipsed power 
of the Imperial line. 'Such/ wrote an intelligent 
foreign observer, ' was the respect for the House of 
Taimur that, although the whole peninsula had been 
gradually withdrawn from its direct authority, there 
was not a prince in India who dared call himself 
" King." Shah c Alam was still seated on the throne 
of the Mughal, and all was still done in his name' 
(Gen. de Boigne's Memoirs). 

Such was the grand prize for which Indian poli- 
ticians were contending, of whom one alone had 
understood the secret. The British might have had 
it, perhaps ; but they thought their time not come. 
'The business of assisting the Shah/ so wrote the 
envoy of Hastings in December, 1783, ' must go on if 
we wish to be secure in India, or regarded as a nation 
of faith and honour.' Hastings was not deaf to these 
considerations ; but, for various reasons, he was 
unable to put them into action. He therefore en- 
couraged the only competent substitute. Sindhia, as 
already stated, had been allowed to recover Gwalior 
and occupy Gohad ; and had been encouraged by 
Warren Hastings to take his own course in the 
affairs of Hindustan. On the 27th March, 1784, the 
Governor-General arrived at Lucknow, where he had 
an interview with the Heir-apparent to the Empire 
who had come to seek his protection. Hastings con- 
sidered the prince's case with his habitual patient 
courtesy, and granted him an annuity. But, in regard 
to politics, he could only advise the prince to have 



recourse to * Madhoji Sindia.' The movements of 
that astute politician now began to occupy general 
attention. On the 18th April the Calcutta Gazette 
contained an announcement to the effect that ' We 
learn that Sindia is going on a hunting party ... we 
also learn that he will march towards Bundelkhand.' 
In point of fact he meant quite otherwise ; he was to 
march towards Agra, and to hunt bigger game than 
even tigers. 

The Calcutta Gazette continued to give news 
from Hindustan. While Sindhia was encamping on 
the Chambal to wait on events, the Gazette for 
ioth May informed its readers that c his Majesty 
has signified by letters to the Governor-General 
and Maharaja Sindia that he will march towards 

Ever since the ratification of his negotiations with 
Colonel Muir, Sindhia had done little to win the 
confidence of the Nana. While carefully watching 
events in Hindustan, for his own interest, he had 
never omitted an opportunity of playing on the 
anxieties of his less adventurous colleague at Poona. 
He had affected to give consideration, if not actual 
credit, to the claims of an impostor who pretended 
to be the famous Bhao escaped from the slaughter 
of Panipat ; of that pretender, however, the Regency 
made short work. Then Sindhia professed great 
anxiety for the interests of a more dangerous claimant, 
the restless Raghuba ; and when that troubler of 
the Deccan was allowed to settle as a pensioner 


at Kopargaon, in Khand^s, Sindhia professed to be 
extremely solicitous for Raghuba's welfare ; and he 
was generally suspected of fomenting intrigues for 
securing the succession to the Peshwaship for one 
of Raghuba's sons. 

In all this there was an element of real policy 
blending with a certain amount of good-humoured 
malice. But with the ratification of the Treaty of 
Salbai came an opening for wider views and higher 
aims. The faithless Kashmirian Majid-ud-daula 
had, as we have seen, already attempted to obtain 
Sindhia s co-operation in some crude scheme that he 
was forming for putting himself into the place of 
Mirza Najaf as Prime Minister and Commander-in- 
Chief at Delhi, in return for which he had proposed 
to join Sindhia in an attack upon the British in 
Bengal. There is no evidence that Sindhia had any 
wish to join in such undertakings ; nor is it at all 
likely that he would have accepted the Kashmirian's 
offer or consented to play Mephistopheles to such a 
feeble Faust. Nevertheless, the Mirza found out 
enough to warrant him in removing Majid-ud-daula 
from office ; and, for the rest of his life, his authority 
was undisturbed. As we have seen, the Mirza died 
in April 1782; and the attention of Sindhia at once 
became seriously fixed on Delhi politics. At the end 
of 1784 he obtained the services of M. de Boigne, 
whom he sent into Bundelkhand at the head of two 
disciplined battalions in company with a miscellaneous 
force under a native general. But in the intervening 

G 2, 


period he kept an anxious gaze upon the northern 
horizon, uncertain as yet how to read the omens. 

As if to remove every scrap of difficulty, however, 
all parties united to invite his interposition, and the 
treacherous but incapable Afrasyab especially sought 
his assistance. Muhammad Beg, the actual murderer 
of Mirza ShafT, had committed the felonious deed 
under Afrasyab's instructions ; and was in conse- 
quence making himself exceedingly unpleasant, taking 
possession of Agra on his own account. Then to 
complete the perilous circle that was closing around 
him, the minister next attacked Majid-ud-daula, the 
Emperors Kashmirian favourite, who was by this 
time quite incapable of any mischief, however petty, 
and was moreover connected with the Emperor by 
ancient personal ties. With gratuitous violence, 
Afrasyab now arrested the valetudinarian old courtier 
and subjected him to confiscation and close imprison- 
ment. The Emperor, irritated and alarmed, shut 
himself up and refused to accompany the arrogant 
minister on his approaching journey to Agra, where 
Muhammad Beg refused to give up possession of 
the fort. 

Afrasyab marched therefore without the sanction of 
his sovereign puppet; and, on arrival at Agra, en- 
camped under the walls and awaited the coming of 
Sindhia. In October, 1784, Sindhia arrived, had a 
friendly interview with the minister, pitched his camp 
as near as possible, and began to concert matters for 
an assault upon the rebel garrison. 


Three days later Afrasyab was stabbed in his tent 
by Zain-ul-abidin, brother to the late Mirza Shafi'. 
As the murderer escaped punishment, though known 
to be a refugee in the Mar^tha camp, it was at once 
conjectured that the murder, though certainly not 
unprovoked, might not have been committed with- 
out suggestion from Sindhia. The truth cannot be 
positively known ; the suspicion may possibly — nay, 
probably — have been little more than the outcome 
of the ordinary question Cui bono $ 

In the absence of positive evidence there is nothing 
but conjecture to aid us in considering whether or no 
a certain historic character was guilty of any par- 
ticular crime. The manner of Afrasyab's death would 
have been a reproach to Sindhia if it were brought 
home to him. But it would have been, so far as the 
record shows, an isolated instance in a life otherwise 
free from cold-blooded atrocity. From Grant Duff's 
remarks it may fairly be inferred that not only is 
there no convincing reason for charging Sindhia with 
the instigation of this murder, but that the best in- 
formed of his contemporaries never suspected him ; 
and the actual assassin had a sufficient motive, in 
revenge for the murder of his brother. It is true that 
Sindhia does not appear to have made any attempt to 
punish him ; but the spirit of those anarchic times 
would warrant his getting the benefit of the lex 
talionis. We are not entitled to demand of a poli- 
tician that he shall be independent of the spirit of his 
time, or be guided by principles of which he had 


never heard. As for the maxim Cui bono? it is 
doubtless a help to the historical detective ; but * it 
is no more an infallible guide for him than for the 
police of daily life. 

That Sindhia benefited by Afrasyab'.s death is, no 
doubt, true. All the Chiefs present in camp at once 
waited on him, and by common consent acknowledged 
his supremacy. He held an informal darbar and ac- 
cepted their assurances of support. He then broke 
up from Agra, leaving Muhammad Beg in temporary 
possession of the fort. Proceeding to Delhi, he 
presented himself to the Emperor and offered his 
services, obtaining in return two patents. The one 
contained the appointment of the Peshwa to be Vice- 
gerent of the Empire ; the other vested in himself the 
command of the army as Deputy to the Peshwa. As 
a guarantee for the pay of the troops the provinces 
of Delhi and Agra were assigned to him, but they 
were made subject to a primary charge of sixty-five 
thousand rupees as a monthly payment for the house- 
hold and personal expenses of the Emperor. Thus far 
the great game had been won. 

Note. — As the relations between Hastings and Sindhia just before, 
and just after, the Treaty of Salbai had a great influence upon the 
later and greater events of Sindhia's career, it may be well to 
refer the reader to Wilson's sensible note on the subject (vol. v, 
p. 15). It is plain that the character of Sindhia had inspired 
Hastings with respect. His own generous heart had impelled 
him strongly to take active measures for the relief of the un- 
fortunate Emperor, who was the legitimate source of all power in 
India, and especially of that of the British in Bengal. Hastings 
afterwards admitted that there was a time when he ' would have 


afforded effectual assistance to Shah 'Alam, if power had been 
granted,' though he was then deterred by the opposition of his 
Council : and the admission is fully corroborated by his despatches 
of the time. But he came afterwards to see, in the deplorable 
weakness of the Emperor, reasons for being unwilling to expose 
his employers to an uncertain pecuniary burden for such an object, 
and to deem it more prudent and more to the advantage of the 
Emperor himself, that his protection should be left to Sindhia. 
1 1 declare/ he said, in defending himself against the charges 
framed by the House of Commons, ' that I entered into no negotia- 
tions with Madajee Sindia (sic) for delivering the Mogul into the 
hands of the Marathas : but I must have been indeed a madman 
if I had involved the Company in a war with the Marathas 
because the Mogul, as his last resource, had thrown himself under 
the protection of Sindia/ That Hastings, as a matter of fact, 
thought Sindhia likely to be a humane and efficient protector is 
shown in Wilson's note referred to ; and the result supported his 
belief. So long as Shah c Alam was content with Sindhia's protec- 
tion he enjoyed security and comfort. 


Sindhia's First Administration 

Unquestionably, these events made a complete 
revolution in the position of Madhava Sindhia, chang- 
ing still more the position of all institutions and men 
in any way connected with him. Up to the time of 
which we are now treating he had always transacted 
public affairs in the name of the Court of Poona, even 
when in reality acting on his own behalf; so that, 
as we are informed by Sir John Malcolm, his very 
javelin-men (chaubddrs) were enrolled as servants of 
the Peshwa (Central India, i. 123). Now, concen- 
trated in Hindustan, Sindhia's power became, vir- 
tually and almost nominally, that of the Mughal 
Empire; and, whenever patents were issued, they 
came as orders of the Shah, the titles of the Peshwa 
and Sindhia being added as those of mere ministerial 
officers. No man was ever less exacting of forms and 
ceremonies when he himself only was concerned, for 
he loved reality, and trusted his own power to guard 
and enforce it ; but, when it came to imposing upon 
weaker minds, Madhava was almost histrionic in his 
use of rite and pageant. If the British saw fit to 


regard him as an independent prince he could not 
hinder them; indeed, such was their crude and ill- 
bred way of diplomatic action, which he might de- 
plore but could not rectify. But, rightly viewed, he 
was but a poor Patel and lucky menial, whom a too- 
bountiful Providence had endowed with the means of 
serving his master in a higher sphere : his master and 
he being, in their widely-differing degrees, both minis- 
ters of an august monarch. The Lord of the Known 
World and Asylum of the Universe was for the 
moment inconvenienced by the disloyal conduct of 
some of his subjects; let his faithful servants unite 
their humble efforts for his Majesty's relief, and all 
would yet be well. 

In all this our hero might sometimes overdo his 
part. But it does not follow that an actor fails to 
understand realities because he wears rouge and 
drapery upon the stage : Sindhia thought that truth 
in her nakedness could not be usefully or decorously 
shown ; but he seldom ignored fact in his own per- 
sonal action; and it was a good deal by virtue of 
that combination that he managed his contemporaries 
without participating their delusions, and enjoyed 
the prerogatives of despotism with a minimum of 
its disadvantages. The humility assumed by Sindhia, 
however, was far from disarming the jealousy of 
Holkar and the Nana ; and Grant Duff assures us 
that at no time in his life was the successful ad- 
venturer so much off his guard. Indeed, it is 
evident from an incident presently to occur that 


Sindhia was for a moment over-elated by his sud- 
den elevation. 

As we have already observed, there was one set of 
his Majesty of Delhi's subjects whose brutal frankness 
would not be deceived, and who not only called a 
spade a spade, but were not above using spades 
with their own hands. These were the British, led 
by Hastings. But that undeceivable politician left 
India in February 1785, and his successor, Sir John 
Macpherson, was a man of business and, apparently, 
nothing more. Here seemed to Sindhia a favourable 
opportunity for trying a fresh experiment; it was 
possible that the tenacious hold on the provinces, 
which the Shah had abandoned in 1771, was a per- 
sonal characteristic of the departed Governor, and 
that his successor might have more respect for forms 
and phrases. Madhava accordingly caused it to be 
understood that his Majesty had it in contemplation 
to demand payment of the tribute guaranteed by the 
treaty under which the East India Company obtained 
the 'Diwani' of the eastern districts. This tribute 
had been for some time unliquidated, but it might 
soon become necessary to call for the arrears and a 
pledge of future punctuality. 

While thus preparing the provision of the future, 
Sindhia was not idle in making the best use of means 
already at his disposal. Mention has already been 
made of a European officer whom he had sent with 
two battalions into Bundelkhand for the suppression 
of some troubles in that region. As M. de Boigne is 


destined to appear henceforth as Sindhia's ablest and 
most efficient servant, it will be proper to explain 
more fully the origin of their connection : which can 
fortunately be done, at almost first-hand, from in- 
formation supplied to Captain Grant Duff by the 
General himself. 

In 1783 Sindhia, in virtue of the Treaty of Salbai, 
was engaged in recovering possession of some of the 
Gwalior country ; and in the course of these opera- 
tions was besieging the fort of Gohad belonging to 
a Jat prince, now represented by the Maharana of 
Dholpur. While thus employed he learned that his 
enemy was concerting a plan for the raising of the 
siege in which he had been offered assistance by a 
European traveller, who was the friend and corre- 
spondent of Mr. Sangster, the superintendent of the 
Rana's gun-foundry. Sindhia perceived the merit of 
the plan, and traced it to de Boigne, the traveller 
in question. He found that this gentleman was 
the bearer of letters of introduction from Warren 
Hastings, in virtue of which he was endeavouring to 
obtain service with the Jaipur State. He complained 
to Hastings, who at the same time received a letter 
from de Boigne, in which the latter asked permission 
from the Governor-General to accept an offer of 
service which had been made him by the Raja of 
Jaipur. Anxious to avoid complications with Sindhia, 
the Governor-General wrote to de Boigne inviting 
him to return to Calcutta and explain his projects in 
a personal interview. With this invitation de Boigne 


judged it proper to comply; and, on his return to 
the Upper Provinces, he took service not with 
Jaipur but with Sindhia himself. He came as far as 
Lucknow in the suite of the Governor-General, who 
in all likelihood approved of the plan. 

The gain to Sindhia was enormous : it is hardly an 
exaggeration to say that Benoit de Boigne was worth 
at least 50,000 men to his service. Originally an 
officer in the regiment of Lord Clare in the King of 
France's Irish Brigade, he had studied the art of war 
in that army, and afterwards in the army of Cathe- 
rine of Russia engaged with the Turks in the Levant. 
Being taken prisoner, he was sold as a slave at 
Constantinople, but ultimately escaped and got to 
India overland, with letters of introduction to Lord 
Macartney — then Governor of Madras. He obtained 
a commission in the 6th Madras Native Infantry, a 
corps which was destroyed in Baillie's disaster, but 
de Boigne was fortunate enough to be on detachment 
and so escaped the loss of life or liberty which befel 
his brother officers. Soon after he resigned the 
service and came to Calcutta, recommended by 
Macartney to Hastings. So far he had come to the con- 
fines of middle age without finding a permanent career 
for his courage and ability. But the rolling-stone 
appeared now to be in a fair way to settle and gather 
moss. His original scheme in coming up the country 
had been to make his way through Persia, and to 
approach his old mistress the Czarina with all the 
information he could collect relative to India and 


Central Asia : a great design which might have been 
attended by important consequences. But the favour 
of Hastings, and the reception that he now obtained 
from Sindhia, induced him once more to change his 
plans. Impressed by the recommendations of the 
Governor-General, who had noticed with pleased 
approval the docility with which the adventurer had 
obeyed his wishes, Sindhia had been further dis- 
posed towards de Boigne by the soldierly knowledge 
and originality displayed in the plans of the latter 
for the relief of Gohad. 

De Boigne was therefore engaged, and was allowed 
to bring into the service another quondam antagonist, 
the Scotsman Sangster also : and while the one was 
put in charge of the gun- foundry, the other was com- 
missioned to raise a small infantry force in imitation 
of the little legions of Sombre and M^doc. 

About this time, too, Sindhia had the further satis- 
faction of being relieved from the hostility of Muham- 
mad Beg, the dislodging of whom had been the osten- 
sible object of his late meeting with Afrasyab at Agra. 
When that meeting ended so tragically, the Beg's 
followers began to see that power was devolving upon 
abler hands ; the garrison melted away, till the Beg 
was fain to surrender a fortress he could no longer 
man and enter the service of Sindhia : this took 
place 27th March, 1785. All that now remained of 
the once great possessions of Mirza Najaf was the 
town of Koil with the adjoining fort of Aligarh, 
where the family of Afrasyab held out in hope of 


good terms. They were not doomed to disappoint- 
ment. A force was sent to which Aligarh surren- 
dered, an estate being settled by Sindhia for the 
maintenance of Afrasyab's son and the family. 

In the midst of these easy triumphs appeared proof 
that, even in its more quiet moods, the British 
Government would brook no pressure upon the 
question of money. The following plain sentences 
appeared in the Calcutta Gazette of 12th May, 1785: — 

1 We have authority to inform the public that, on 
the 7th of this month 1 the Governor-General received, 
from the Emperor Shah Aulum and Maha Rajah 
Madagee Sindia, an official and solemn disavowal of 
demands . . . for the former tribute of Bengal . . . Mr. 
Anderson 2 was instructed to inform Sindia that his 
interference in such demands would be considered in 
the light of direct hostility . . . and . . a disavowal of 
claims advanced unjustly and disrespectfully insisted 

These few sentences are enough to show how firmly 
our precursors in India could act, even at a time 
when they were weak in men and munitions of war 
and were restrained from aggressive measures by 

1 It is not clear how this disavowal was expressed ; the Gazette, 
in an omitted passage, says that the Shah and Sindhia made it 
1 under their respective seals/ as if Sindhia were at that time re- 
garded as a separate power. 

2 Mr. Anderson was the British ' Resident* at Sindhia's head- 
quarters — then, perhaps, at Mathura. The Envoy accredited to the 
Court of Delhi was Major Brown. It was Anderson who had 
negotiated the treaty of Salbai, and he would he persona grata at 
Sindhia's darbdr. * 


the most peremptory and positive order from the 
Home Government. It appears, from the same 
Gazette, that Mr. Anderson had already anticipated 
the orders of his Government; and had founded his 
first remonstrances on something said, with Sindhia's 
approval if not by Sindhia himself, at a darbar of the 
Delhi Court where the Envoy, Major Brown, was 
taking leave of the Shah. It is most creditable to 
the good temper and judgment of Sindhia that im- 
mediate explanations were offered; and they were 
such, in the language of the official organ, ' as must 
eventually strengthen the alliance with the Mah- 
rattas . . . and secure the general tranquillity of 

The Patel, such has always been Sindhia's usual 
designation among the natives, was now supreme in 
Hindustan. The disunited Mughal Chiefs were for 
the moment submissive ; and a garrison under 
Sindhia's orders kept guard over the Emperor in the 
' Red Castle ' of Shah Jahan. His Majesty the Shah, 
however, took the field in the military operations 
about Agra ; at the termination of which he returned 
to Delhi, while his powerful minister retired to 
Mathura, a holy place of the Hindus and henceforth 
one of Sindhia's most favoured residences. 

Among the many circumstances which, at this 
period, conduced to the prosperity of the Patel and 
to the tranquillity of his newly acquired territories 
in Hindustan was the quiescence of Takuji Holkar. 
Throughout all the events that had followed the 


death of Malhar Rao, 1764, the forces of Takiiji, both 
physical and moral, had been so inferior to those of 
his old comrade Sindhia as to compel him to adopt a 
secondary rank alike in the politics of Malwa and of 
Hindustan. There was no hostility between them ; 
but Holkar's subordinate position and second-rate 
mind combined to produce this effect: a brave and 
trustworthy agent, he seemed at this time one of 
those men who, often to their own real credit, are 
readily persuaded to abstain from undertakings for 
their own exclusive aggrandisement. At the time 
we have now to deal with Holkar was engaged, as a 
servant of Ahalya Bai and an officer under the 
Peshwa, in carrying out the policy of the Poona 
darbar in operations against Tipu Sultan, son of the 
deceased Haidar Ali; and after the conclusion of 
those operations he resumed, in his usual dutiful way, 
his attendance upon the widow of his late masters 
son. There, however, his stay was short ; for he was 
called on to aid in the settlement of Bundelkhand. 
This province had long been in a very disturbed 
state ; and the Peshwa now determined to bestow it 
on a regular feudatory as had been done with so 
much success in M&lwa and Gujarat. The Chief 
selected was a bastard Musalman, named Ali Bahadur, 
son of the late Peshwa, Baji Rao, by a Muhammadan 
concubine. Formerly an officer in Sindhia's army, he 
had deserted ; but, with customary good temper and 
sense, Sindhia made no opposition to his establish- 
ment in Bundelkhand. Here he became the founder 


of that House, of ' Nawabs of Banda,' who, opposing 
the British, were mediatised by Lord Hastings ; and 
whose last representative was deposed for misconduct 
in 1857. 

For these and other services Holkar was granted 
a share in the profits of that most commercial of 
Empires founded by the Maratha confederacy: and 
out of these claims seeds ripened which were to 
germinate hereafter into misunderstanding, war, and 
ultimate disaster. Yet it is remarkable that of all the 
Chiefs of those days there were none whose power 
has come to be more established than the founders of 
the States of Gwalior and Indore. 

One of the very first cares of Sindbia was to 
provide a safe road from his southern estates in 
Malwa, via Gwalior, to Delhi : and one of the strong- 
holds on the way was the fort of Raghugarh belong- 
ing, as it still does, to the head of the Kechi Glan of 
Chauhan Rajputs. So far back as 1780, Sindhia had 
begun hostilities against the then Chief, Raja Bal want 
Singh ; and he now sent a column to besiege this fort, 
under Mohammad Beg, whom he was anxious to pro- 
vide with employment. 

A short account of the Kechi tribe of Raghugarh 
will be useful as illustrating the mutual relations 
and different proceedings of a very noble clan of 
Hindus and the Marathas, who, though Hindus who 
attained to great distinction, were certainly not dis- 
tinguished by character or conduct such as we are 
accustomed to connect with the idea of nobility. The 


114 mAdhava rAo sin Dili a 

Kechis were a clan of Chauhans, as were the Sisodias 
of M&var, or Udaipur ; and the two clans emulated 
each other in leadership and in examples of punc- 
tilious purity. Of both divisions, that of Udaipur 
and that of Kaghugarh, it was the common boast that 
they had never followed the lead of Amber (Jaipur) 
and Marwar (Jodhpur) in allowing the Mughal 
Sultans to take brides from among their daughters, 
and had chosen to endure the severest persecution 
from the Imperial Government rather than submit to 
such degradation. Of the two Udaipur was usually 
the most conspicuous and powerful ; nevertheless, 
Jai Singh, son and successor of Raja Balwant, in a 
letter which he wrote, a few years later, to propose to 
the British authorities an alliance against Sindhia, 
asserted that he was the true Chief of all Rajputs and 
hereditary 'Hindupat,' or sovereign of the Hindus. 
This claim was probably based on the doctrine of 
Rajput heralds, that the Kechis of Raghugarh were 
lineally descended from the famous Pirthi Raj, or 
c Rai Pithaura,' whose exploits are the subject of 
Ohand's celebrated epic, and whose fortifications are 
still visible near the Kutb Minar at Old Delhi. 
About the middle of the eighteenth century, while 
the Marathas were occupying the neighbouring dis- 
tricts, the then representative of this proud House 
was the centre of a general attack by no less than 
thirteen confederate Chiefs. Over this league, how- 
ever, he prevailed ; and this gave the Peshwa, 
Balaji Baji Rao, so high an idea of his power that 


his alliance was sought for the Maratha cause. 
Having little reason to love his Rajput neighbours, 
he accepted the offer, became a constant companion 
of the Chiefs of the Holkar and Sindhia clans who 
settled in Malwa, and left his son Balwant apparently 
strong and prosperous at his death — about 1780. 

It was this Chief against whom Sindhia now re- 
solved to employ Muhammad Beg and. his levies : on 
his first accession, indeed, Sindhia had got him into 
his power ; but a subordinate Kechi Chieftain, Sher 
Singh, had, by a singular expedient, obtained the 
Raja s release. Without proclaiming war, or sending 
a single soldier into Sindhia's territories, some of 
which lay close by, Sher Singh deprived Sindhia of 
all profit from his new annexation. For he at once 
sent orders to all the husbandmen of the Raghugarh 
State — or Kechiwara — to leave their fields untilled 
and betake themselves to the neighbouring State of 
Bhopal, where he had made arrangements with the 
ruling Minister to protect and provide for them. The 
Minister was a Musalman, Chata Khan by name ; and 
it is almost equally singular that he should have sided 
with the Kechis against an authority professing to 
emanate from the Mughal Chancery, and that Sindhia 
should have passed over his conduct without any 
attempt at punishment. Sindhia's good-tempered 
forbearance was not at first rewarded. Sher Singh, 
though abstaining from open attack, was relentless in 
his ill-treatment of Maratha Brahmans who fell into 
his hands, declaring that it was by their advice that 

h 2 


Sindhia was actuated, but he would teach him how to 
handle a Rajput principality. And then occurred a 
pleasing incident, showing the Chauhan chivalry in 
a favourable light, and giving a gratifying instance 
of Madhoji's placable though rigorous nature. It 
happened that the wife of Sindhia, accompanied by 
the families of some of his officers, was coming from 
Poona to Mathura ; and considerable alarm was felt 
as to what might happen should Sher Singh, as was 
quite possible, surprise and cut up the escort. Sindhia, 
therefore, wrote to Chata Khan, the Bhopal Diwdn ; 
and at his intercession Sher Singh gave the travellers 
an unmolested and honourable passage through the 
country of Kechiwara: and Sindhia acknowledged 
the courtesy in a handsome letter. Shortly after 
occurred the peace with Jaipur and Jodhpur, and at 
the intercession of the Rajas Balwant Singh was, 
finally, released ; but Ambaji Inglia, who was then 
commanding for Sindhia in Malwa, picked a quarrel 
with him about ransom, and refused to restore the 
fort of Raghugarh. Having neither money nor energy 
Balwant retired to Jaipur, where he ultimately died, 
and was succeeded by his son Jai Singh, a young man 
of ruthless but vigorous character. 

The rest of the story of Kechiwara does not belong 
to the life of Madhava Sindhia. He does not seem to 
have ventured on contravening the arrangement made 
in his behalf by Ambaji, nor is the present writer in a 
position to say with certainty that Ambaji was with- 
out justification for his course of action. But it was 


resented by Jai Singh, a man of more spirit than his 
father, though he sometimes showed it in a manner so 
cruel as to be suspected of insanity. He was cordially 
assisted in his hostilities against Sindhia by Durjan 
Lai, who had been Raja Bal want's Vakil ', or agent, at 
Sindhia's Court ; and these hostilities were maintained 
long after MMhavas death. 

It was about the same time as the date of 
Muhammad Beg's expedition to Raghugarh that M&- 
dhava attempted to consolidate his influence at the_ 
Mughal Court by inviting the return of Mirza Jawan 
Bakht, the Heir-apparent, from Lucknow. We saw 
that this sensible and virtuous Prince had been left at 
Delhi by Ahmad, the Durani Shah, as ostensible head 
of the provisional government established there in 
1759. Since then he had seen many vicissitudes ; and 
had escaped from the palace during Afrasyab's tenure 
of office, and went to Lucknow, about the end of April, 
1784. There he had met Mr. Hastings, whose sym- 
pathies were warmly excited by the sorrows of the 
excellent prince, and by whom an annuity of four 
Idkhs was granted to him, with a strong recommenda- 
tion to throw himself on the protection of Madhava 
Sindhia, as already mentioned. 

But by 1786 Hastings was gone, and Lord Corn- 
wallis had taken charge of Bengal, with power to 
impose his decisions on an opposing Council, and 
instructions to purchase peace at any price. There 
was, apparently, a conflict among some of the agents 
of the Government as to the means to be employed to 

n8 mAdhava rAo sindhia 

this end ; but the result was that the Prince was led 
to conceive suspicions of Sindhia s motives (for which 
suspicions no grounds ever appeared) and to decline 
his invitation. The voices calling the British to Delhi 
were also unheard or unheeded 1 . It may be that the 
late successes of Haidar and his son, and the tre- 
mendous scale of Indian war, both in point of distances 
to be traversed and hostile forces to be encountered, 
may have appalled a man accustomed to scientific 
warfare, like Cornwallis, and not very fortunate at 
that. The Resident at Lucknow, Major Palmer, had 
taken a somewhat larger view : Shah 'Alam was grow- 
ing old and lethargic, the interests of the Company 
seemed bound up in those of the Heir-apparent. Whilst 
he remained under British influence the usurpation of 
Sindhia was incomplete, and so long as that was so a 
great danger was avoided/ So wrote Palmer in 1785. 
In the following year Cornwallis assumed charge ; and 
after attempting the perennially-recurring reformation 
of Oudh, he found his attention almost exclusively 
diverted to the Deccan. He evidently considered 
that, so far as Hindustan was concerned, it was best 
that Camerina should not be shaken. 'Many/ said the 
official organ, ' have urged the necessity of upholding 
the Mogol influence to counterbalance the power of 
the Hindus; but this should seem bad policy; as 
we should causelessly become obnoxious and involve 
ourselves in the interest of a declining State ' (Cal- 
cutta Gazette, 8 March, 1787). 

1 See Mr. Seton Karr's Cornwallis, in this series, pp. 16, 17. 


The Prince remaining at Lucknow, and the British 
being permanently bent on withholding payment of 
tribute and on retaining, for themselves or for the 
Nawab, the possession of the ceded provinces, the 
Patel was left to his own resources for raising the 
revenues of his newly-acquired territories. He thus 
was led to the measure of inquiring into the titles 
under which vast alienations of revenue had been 
made by persons who, in the recent anarchy, had 
set up as hereditary holders of fiefs. The subject 
of free landholding in India is too large to be here 
analysed in all its details; it must suffice to ex- 
plain the essential difference between the systems 
of Asia and Europe. In the latter a partition of 
the lands among military leaders had, as we know, 
become general in the tenth century of the Christian 
era, by virtue of which allodial tenure disappeared, 
and large estates were formed which, subject to 
certain regulated burdens and duties, descended from 
the father to the eldest son and laid the foundation of 
landed property as it still exists in this country. In 
India, on the contrary, and in many other eastern 
countries, the land was claimed by the township, or 
commune, on condition of paying the surplus produce 
to the public fisc. The payments were collected in a 
variety of ways ; and each being small in itself, the 
State found its convenience in grouping a number of 
townships and giving charge of each group either to 
a farmer who bought the farm at auction, or to a 
grantee who was to yield a proportion of the produce, 

120 mAdhava rAo sindhia 

in kind, in cash, or in military service. So far as the 
two systems may seem to have had a not dissimilar 
origin, except that in India the townships were often 
too tenacious of existence and of traditional rights to 
allow the farmer or grantee to reduce their copar- 
cenors to the position of mere tenants-at-will or even 
copyholders. But the great difference was, after all, 
not so much in that direction. Had the farms and 
grants become hereditary it is probable that the 
proprietary rights and the communities themselves 
would have ultimately disappeared — as, indeed, they 
did in Bengal when the Zamindars became proprietors. 
Fortunately a farm, as such, has no tendency to 
become hereditary, its very essence being the periodical 
use of a method of auction. As for the grants, they 
might often be usurped by the heir when the grantee 
died; or when the Government was not especially 
weak, a fine might be accepted in lieu of the trouble of 
dispossessing the usurper. But, happily for the people, 
such ideas were opposed to state-theories as much 
as to popular notions. The spirit of Muhammadan 
polity does not favour the devolution of property by 
inheritance so as to create a patrician order. In the 
palmy days, therefore, of the Mughal Empire, a 
grandee's fiefs were regarded in the light of pay or 
pension, and were almost invariably resumed at his 

Such was the origin of the famous c Jaghire-system,' 
of which we hear so much in Indian history *. And 

1 Jai-gir, = 'place-holding/ is the true Persian term. Clive had 


it was into the titles of such holdings that Sindhia 
now ordered inquiry ; with the prospect that the 
incomes were to be resumed in order to be applied to 
the purposes of the Government where the title was 
bad and the grantee too weak to contend against the 
State. The measure was perfectly legal: it wanted 
no political justification : its timeliness and prudence 
form a separate question : Sindhia's head was perhaps 
a little turned by success. The object that he had in 
view was to organise a standing army, like that of 
the Company, in lieu of the levies of the Jaigirddrs : 
and the resumption of the fiefs was, in fact, the sub- 
stitution of a paid and trained force for the services, 
often imaginary and always weak, of the usurping 
Barons. But the Patel had to prepare for the hostility 
of the latter, who had every motive for opposing the 
change. The Barons on their part prepared for resist- 
ance, and were doubtless encouraged by Muhammad 
Beg, himself a prominent member of their order, who 
had by this time succeeded in taking the fort of 
Raghugarh, but remained encamped in the district. 
The standing army was meanwhile taking shape : 
besides de Boigne other professional officers were 
making their mark, among the best of whom were the 
Maratha Ambaji Inglia and Rana Khan, the quondam 
water-carrier who had saved the life of his master after 
the rout at Panipat. Thus supported, Sindhia called 

an office of this kind, under an imperial patent, by virtue of which 
he was the landlord of his employer, the East India Company, in 
the 'Twenty-four Parganas.' 

1 23 mAdhava rAo sindhia 

Muhammad Beg from the settlement of Kechiw&ra, 
and ordered him to disband his levies. Muhammad 
Beg evaded compliance; Himmat Bahadur, a Jaigirdar 
in Bundelkhand, refused to render his accounts, and 
went into rebellion ; the Rajput Chiefs, emboldened 
by the evacuation of Raghugarh, joined the combina- 
tion ; all Central India seemed about to take fire. 
The payment of revenue began to be generally repudi- 
ated ; and Sindhia s communications with Malwa and 
the Deccan were cut. Raja Partab Singh, of Jaipur, 
called upon the Jodhpur Chief, Maharaja Bijai Singh, 
for aid which was given with alacrity ; and the con- 
federacy was soon joined by the Rana of Udaipurand 
other minor chiefs. Almost without warning, and with 
his army not yet organised, Sindhia suddenly found 
his authority challenged by a brave host of 100,000 
horse and foot, with 400 pieces of artillery. Against 
this he had to oppose the regular army under Ambaji 
and Rana Khan, the small corps of M. de Boigne, 
and the Mughal horse and regular battalions of the 
Imperial service under the suspicious direction of 
Muhammad Beg. The latter general was seconded by 
his nephew, Ismail Beg, who proved to be the last of 
the great Mughal immigrant leaders ; a man of an 
indomitable spirit in battle, and a gallant leader of 
heavy cavalry, but deficient in prudence and in 

Sindhia brought this explosion upon himself by one 
of those errors of judgment to which he was more 
subject in prosperity than in adversity. He sent a 


chieftain of his own clan, Raiaji Sindhia, to demand 
tribute at the gates of Jaipur; and, when the Raja, 
confiding in the combinations already effected, de- 
risively refused compliance, it proved that Raiaji had 
no means of enforcing the demand. The Musalman 
courtiers at Delhi rejoiced at the rebuff of their 
heathen master ; even the feeble old Emperor mani- 
fested hostility; while, at the same time, he raised 
open complaints of the arbitrary conduct of his 
protector, and alleged himself to be ill-treated and 
inadequately supplied with money. In this general 
adversity, and when all his resources appeared likely 
to be insufficient to conduct a successful campaign in 
Rajputana, Sindhia suddenly found himself forced to 
detach two strong bodies of troops under Ambaji to 
encounter an incursion of the Sikhs to the northward 
of the capital. 

He then took the field in person with the remainder 
of his troops, and marched towards Jaipur, attended 
by Muhammad Beg, Rana Khan — the ex- waterman — 
and by the corps of Appa Khandi and de Boigne, lately 
returned from Bundelkhand. The army so formed 
was the ' Imperial army,' and moved with something 
of imperial state: it was therefore the more easily 
harassed by what had once been the tactics employed 
against Aurangzeb. It was surrounded, its foragers 
and stragglers were cut off, and its supplies shortened. 
It was also in a disunited condition, and consequently 
not to be trusted for combined action. 

In this state it was encountered by the allies at 


L&lsot, a village about forty miles south of Jaipur, 
at the end of May, 1787. Muhammad Beg deserted to 
the enemy, followed by Ismail Beg, the Mughal horse, 
and a quantity of good infantry and artillery. Worsted 
in three burning days of unequal combat, and sur- 
rounded by marauding skirmishers who plundered 
his camp at night, Sindhia determined to retire. 

But, if he had been led into mistakes by the elation 
of prosperity, he showed no craven spirit against 
adverse fortune. He retired in good order ; sending 
off his heavy baggage under a strong escort to Gwalior, 
calling in all his detachments, and falling slowly back 
upon the friendly country of Bhartpur. Arrived at 
Dig, he conciliated the Jat Chief by the cession of that 
fortress — an old possession of the family — and sent an 
express to Poona earnestly imploring the Nana to send 
him reinforcements for the common cause of Maha- 
rashtra. This done, he deposited his heavy artillery 
in the almost impregnable fortress of Bhartpur, and 
strengthened the garrison of Agra under the command 
of Lakwa Dada, one of the most faithful of his native 

A translation of the letter written on this occasion 
to Nana Farnavis will be found in Grant Duff(iii. 24), 
and it shows the skilful way in which a man appar- 
ently at his last resources could appeal to a not 
wholly friendly colleague without loss of dignity. 
The Nana appears to have had an ungenerous mo- 
ment, and to have complied with Sindhias request 
reluctantly, only consenting after much delay and 


with mortifying conditions. He was more prompt 

The B&jputs did not follow up their success ; but 
a new trouble was not slow to make its appearance. 
The son of the late Zabita Khan, who died in January, 
1785, was that Ghulam Kadir whose ill-treatment 
in 1772 has been already mentioned, and who was 
now in the full possession of his father's fiefs at the 
head of the Doab and of his father's turbulence, with 
infinitely more than his father's energy. His ambition, 
stimulated, perhaps, by an ill-regulated intellect and 
a mad impulse of vindictiveness, had been held 
in restraint by the physical and moral supremacy 
of Sindhia. The moment had now arrived which he 
had long awaited. While Sindhia was engaged in his 
difficult struggle with the Rajputs it would be easy 
to join his forces to those of Ismail Beg, obtain pos- 
session of Agra and Delhi, and strike a blow with 
success for the cause of Islam and hereditary fiefs. 
With the Emperors person in their power they might 
renew the enterprise of Ghazi-ud-din, and rule Hin- 
dustan to the benefit of the faith and of themselves. 
In communication, therefore, with Ismail Beg, who 
was besieging Agra. Ghulam Kadir set out from his 
northern estates and proceeded to occupy the country 
round the metropolis. 

In the meantime the Rajputs, having digested their 
late triumphs, proceeded to renew their attack on 
Sindhia. Surprising a detachment of his army 
under Ambaji they put it to flight with severe 

126 mAdhava rAo sindhia 

loss, and drove Sindhia to take refuge in the fort 
of Gwalior. 

This season of distress, as de Boigne used afterwards 
to relate, was also the season of Sindhia's true great- 
ness. But the Savoyard adventurer was wise after 
the event. For the moment he despaired, though 
Sindhia did not ; and he began to think of quitting 
a service in which he saw no prospect of wealth or 
distinction, and joining the famous Claude Martin 
in business engagements at Lucknow. Sindhia, how- 
ever, prevailed on him to undertake some farther 
operations for his deliverance, and de Boigne did 
not refuse. For the moment master and man re- 
mained at Gwalior, where they were tolerably safe, 
to await events and prepare for a further effort. 

The rainy season had now set in, and suspended 
military operations. But, towards the end of the 
monsoon, while the Beg was still engaged in the siege 
of Agra, Ghulam Kadir advanced on Delhi, and en- 
camped at Shahdara on the left bank of the Jumna, 
facing the palace of the Mughals. In the city was a 
Maratha garrison, which was commanded by Sindhia's 
son-in-law, called { The Desmukh,' and by a Muham- 
madan official called Shah Nizam-ud-din, whom 
Sindhia had lately put in charge of the home- 
demesnes. They opened fire on Ghulam Kadir's 
camp, a hostility that was promptly returned: and 
presently, finding that Ghulam Kadir had secured 
the sympathies and connivance of the Nazir and 
other Mughal officers, they threw up the defence 


and retired to Ballabgarh, a fort then garrisoned by 
the friendly Jats. 

Ghulam Kadir immediately entered Delhi, and was 
presented to the Emperor by the Nazir, Manzur Ali — 
a nominee, as may be remembered, of the late Mirza 
Najaf Khan. This man had been for some time in 
correspondence with the rebel, perhaps propitiated by 
gifts, perhaps affected by the mirage of a Musalman 
revival. He now allotted to the young Pathan the 
quarters in the palace usually reserved for the Amir- 
ul-Amara, or Premier noble. This had been the 
office held by the original Najib, and constantly 
claimed by Zabita; and Ghulam Kadir had set his 
hard heart upon obtaining it for himself. But the 
Emperor was not yet fallen so low as to reward a 
rebel. Aided by Begam Sombre, who hastened to 
Delhi on hearing of the intended revolution, his 
Majesty dismissed the Pathan, who retired to his 
camp. He also raised additional guards, and sum- 
moned Najaf Kuli Khan, a former retainer of Mirza 
Najaf, from his estate at Rewari, about fifty miles 
distant. This Chief immediately obeyed the sum- 
mons; and, on arriving at Delhi, encamped by the 
Begam, in front of the main gate of the palace, on 
the 17th November, 1787. A cannonade was then 
opened on the rebels, who replied by firing shots, 
of which some fell into the interior of the palace. 

Presently a compromise was effected, Sindhia being 
still in difficulties at Gwalior, and his best troops 
beleaguered by Ismail Beg in Agra. Ghulam Kadir 

128 mAdhava rAo sindhia 

was formally invested with the insignia of the office 
that he coveted. He then marched off to attack 
Sindhia's fort at Aligarh, which he took after a faint 
resistance, and thence proceeded to join the Beg 
before the walls of Agra. 

At the end of 1787 Sindhia, having received large 
reinforcements from Poona, crossed the Chambal at 
Dholpur, and advanced to the relief of Agra. Ghulam 
Kadir and the Beg on learning this broke up their 
camp and marched in search of him. An engagement 
ensued at the village of Chaksana, in which Rana 
Khan commanded Sindhia's army, and in which the 
regular battalions were led by de Boigne; and of 
the battle which ensued we have that general's own 
description. He says that the Musalman leaders fought 
well, Ghulam Kadir breaking the infantry line of the 
right wing by a charge of cavalry. Ismail Beg attempt- 
ing the same tactics on de Boigne's battalions was 
received with coolness and success. But the Maratha 
horse were no match for the Mughal cuirassiers ; the 
Jats were equally inefficient ; and it required all the 
efforts of the European officers to protect the retreat 
with their infantry and guns. Rana Khan retreated 
by night upon Bhartpur, and the enemy resumed the 
siege of Agra thus vainly interrupted. Shortly after 
the battle, however, Ghulam Kadir returned to his 
northern possessions, drawn off by an attack of the 
Sikhs from across the Jumna, who had been set in 
motion by emissaries from Sindhia's camp. 

The winter of 1787-8 is marked by the curious 


appeal of Mirza Jawan Bakht, the Heir- apparent, 
for aid from the British. Not feeling any hope of 
support from Lord Cornwallis, the Prince repaired to 
Delhi, whence he addressed himself directly to King 
George III. The letter is part of the history of 
British India; and is only to be noticed here by 
reason of the view that it expresses as to the conduct 
of Sindhia, who is mentioned as vainly desired to 
' conciliate the attachment of the old nobility, and to 
extend protection to the distressed peasantry. 5 Sindhia 
is classed with Ghulam Kadir as among the enemies 
of the Imperial House and of its allies, 'the Rajas 
and Princes of the Empire ' ; and the letter closes with 
a passionate appeal to the British King to 'restore 
the royal authority, to punish the rebellious, to give 
repose to the people of God, and to render his name 
illustrious among earthly potentates.' 

Foiled in all attempts to succour his unhappy father, 
and threatened in life and liberty by the attempts of 
Ghulam Kadir, the Prince retired to the protection of 
the British at Benares, where he died on the 31st of 
May. Idle as the speculation may be, it is hard to 
refrain from a passing thought as to what might have 
happened if he could have combined with Sindhia and 
drawn off the Musalman leaders from their operations 
against Agra and Delhi. 

Unsupported by the Heir-apparent and the British, 
Sindhia's fortunes seemed ebbing fast. Attempting to 
move from Bhartpur to Alwar he was checked by the 
Jaipur Raja, who drove him back towards Arga. On 


his way thither he was again attacked by Ismdil Beg 
and driven in flight across the Chambal. The Jodhpur 
army defeated Ambaji, and hindered him from bring- 
ing help to his master. Receiving fresh reinforce- 
ments from the Deccan, however, Sindhia renewed his 
attempt to raise the siege of Agra where Lakwa Dada 
still gallantly held out. A battle ensued near the 
famous ruins of Fatehpur-Sikri, in which de Boigne's 
battalions once more bore the brunt, and in which 
Sindhia was at last successful. Ismail was routed, 
and had to escape by swimming his horse through the 
waters of the Jumna near Agra, the siege of which 
town was immediately raised after a duration of just 
twelve months. On the other shore Ismail found 
Ghulam Kadir, who had returned, after settling with 
the Sikhs, and with whom he proceeded to Delhi, 
where they arrived sometime in June. 

In the meanwhile M. de Boigne, weary of a war in 
which he had all the hard work but nothing of the 
direction, left the service of Sindhia and took up a 
business career at Lucknow. Feeling the loss of this 
invaluable assistant, Sindhia proceeded to take a little 
repose at Mathura, while the Emperor, whose imbecile 
intrigues and subterranean hostility had been under- 
mining all his operations, was left to fare as he might 
with his new associates. His bad feeling towards 
Sindhia is shown in his son's letter to George III *. 

1 The letter to George III undoubtedly expresses the Shah's real 
feeling towards Sindhia, the writer being then an inmate of his 
ill-starred father's palace. 


But he had shown it in a more active way, at first by- 
secret letters to the Rajput Princes, and afterwards 
also by openly marching towards Ajmere in the spring. 
It is true that he did not get any further than Gokal- 
garh, a stronghold of Najaf Kuii, who had been dis- 
playing some insolence. But his expedition was un- 
doubtedly planned in impotent antagonism to Sindhia, 
being undertaken in pursuance of an invitation from 
the Jodhpur Raja, professedly supported by the Jaipur 
Chief, with both of whom Sindhia was then at open 
war. Gokalgarh surrendered ; and the Emperor, 
satisfied with this petty success, returned to Delhi 
on the 15th April, accompanied by Himmat Bahadur, 
another open enemy of the Patel. 




In the main events of this chapter Madhava had 
less part than would have been expected. It has 
always been a question with his admirers why he 
remained aloof from the sovereign whom he professed 
to serve, at a time when that most imbecile of 
monarchs was exposed to insult and ill-treatment 
from persons to whom he, Sindhia, had been so lately 
and so fiercely opposed. Two reasons will occur to 
readers of these pages. Sindhia may not have thought 
his forces equal to the siege of Delhi, or he may have 
wished that the Emperor should be taught by bitter 
experience who were his true friends, and on which 
side his best interests lay. He did not, we. may be 
sure, calculate on the mad extremes to which the 
violence of Ghulam Kadir would proceed : he doubt- 
less thought that the persons and property of the 
descendants of Taimur would be safe in the hands of 
a gallant soldier, like Ismail Beg, and a wealthy and 
high-born noble like Ghulam Kadir. In any case he 
remained supine at Mathura for three months, during 
which the passive courage of the fallen sovereign and 
the brutal violence of his oppressors were without a 


parallel, and remained so till the French excesses of 
1792, and the slow destruction of the unhappy- 
Louis XVI. Grant Duff suggests another reason : 
1 Sindhia/ he says, ' was still in need of further rein- 
forcements from the Deccan, which Holkar and the 
Nana were unwilling to supply unless on condition of 
being admitted to a share of Sindhia's power in 

The revolution at Delhi seemed now complete. 
The cause of the Crescent was accepted by the 
Emperor and his court, and by the mob of eunuchs 
and parasites who thronged the beautiful marble halls 
and the precincts of the palace, smiling at the efforts of 
the Christian Begam and the Hindu Patel. The nearest 
Musalm&n rival was a slothful Wazir at Lucknow ; 
Ghulam Kadir was the highest official at Delhi, having 
lawfully become Premier-noble, thereby gaining an 
office of undefined character which had often conveyed 
political power to its possessor. The actual military 
command was held by Ismail Beg, whose forces were 
stationed in the old city of Firoz Shah Tughlak. It 
was now the middle of the monsoon. On the 18th 
July the confederates entered the palace, with fifty 
men-at-arms, and received Khilats (dresses of honour) : 
they then retired, with all the outward marks of 
respect, to concoct arrangements for a general scheme 
of plunder, in which Ismail was to levy requisitions 
from the city while Ghulam Kadir undertook the 
spoliation of the palace. 

Hints of these intentions, and demands for money 

134 mAdhava rAo sindhia 

preferred in tones of growing insolence, alarmed the 
helpless Sh£h, who sent, when too late, to implore the 
help of Sindhia. Early in the morning of the 27th 
July, Ghulam K&dir left the quarters of the Amir-ul- 
Amara, and presented himself at the Diwdn Khds, 
where he peremptorily demanded an audience. The 
Shah accordingly came out of his private apartments 
— though the hour was but 7 a.m. — and found 
many courtiers and officials assembling round the 
faded semblance of the peacock-throne. Citing the 
authority of Ismail Beg, the new Premier announced 
that, in obedience to his Majesty's orders, the army 
was ready to march on Mathura, and to chase the 
Marathas from Hindustan. But, before the campaign 
could be opened, it would be absolutely necessary to 
provide for the payment of arrears due to men and 
officers. Their late services had been required by the 
State ; and it was to the State Treasury that the army 
must look for payment. This harangue was pro- 
tracted for some time, and at its conclusion met with 
applause from the speaker's party headed by the 
Nazir. But Lala Sital Das, the Treasurer, being sent 
for to report on the state of the finances, stoutly 
declared that payment was impossible. It was not 
for him to appraise the services of the Pathans ; all 
he could say was that his chests were empty. They 
had seen his Majesty but lately melting down his 
plate to allow of the raising of a small body of men 
wherewith to augment his body-guard. There was 
no money to pay the Pathans. 


On hearing this statement Ghulam Kadir assumed 
an air of indignation, the whole scene having been 
probably prepared — perhaps concerted with the Nazir. 
Drawing from his bosom a letter from the Emperor 
(calling for help from Sindhia), which had been inter- 
cepted by his police, he ordered his followers to dis- 
arm the Shah and remove him into close custody. 
The Shah attempting resistance, Ghulam Kadir drew 
his sword, and would have cut down the Emperor 
had not the Nazir interposed and persuaded the fallen 
sovereign to retire quietly to his own apartments. 
For the next three days he was left there, with the 
members of his family, entirely without food or attend- 
ance, while the Pathan enthroned a feeble recluse 
whom he entitled Bedar Bakht, and set on foot his 
long-planned scheme of wholesale plunder. 

The Beg, however, proved a difficult accomplice: 
finding that Ghulam Kadir kept possession of the 
palace without sending any pay to himself or his 
men, on whose protection he was dependent, Ismail's 
not very lively intelligence began to take alarm. 
Sending for the heads of the urban community he 
advised them to provide for their own safety, pro- 
mising to protect them so long as he might remain, 
and giving strict charge to his officers accordingly. 

Meanwhile Ghulam Kadir proceeded to ransack the 
palace. The new Emperor was sent to plunder his 
predecessor, and women were employed to search the 
ladies of the Imperial family and strip them of their 
jewelled ornaments. Dissatisfied with the proceeds 

136 mAdhava rAo sindhia 

of these, he fell back upon a notion which seems to 
have grown in his mind till it became a mere mono- 
mania — the idea that the palace contained a hidden 
treasure, the secret of which was known to the Shah, 
and to him only. Most of the atrocities that the 
Pathan now committed are to be ascribed to this 
fixed idea of a secret hoard obstinately concealed 
from him by a wilful but helpless old man. 

The prospect of being abandoned by Ismail Beg, 
however, and of losing the protection of that dull but 
valorous cavalier and his fighting men, caused the 
Pathan serious misgivings. On the 15th an envoy 
from Sindhia had arrived in Delhi, followed by 2000 
good cavalry under Raiaji Sindhia, a member of the 
Patel's clan already mentioned. It became known 
too that the Patel had written to Begam Sumroo, 
begging her to do all in her power ; she had several 
times shown her loyalty, and was now within four 
marches, with five battalions of foot, under European 
officers, supported further by fifty guns. It was 
nothing but Ismail and his troopers that guarded 
Delhi on the north and west, and gave Ghulam 
Kadir time for his researches in the palace. He 
therefore sent a donative of five Idkhs to them, and 
begged them to levy contributions, in a regular 
manner, from the Hindu bankers and traders of the 

The Pathan, deeming himself secure, proceeded to 
further investigations. On the 29th he sent for the 
Shah and caused him to be flogged in his presence, 


employing Bedar Bakht to ply the scourge on his 
august kinsman's back. Next day a wholesale flogging 
of the Imperial Princesses took place, and their shrill 
laments rang through the glorious galleries of Shah 
Jahan. On the 1st of August a pressing attempt was 
made to shake the constancy of the Shah and extort 
from him the key of a secret which had, in fact, no 
existence. The Shah employed the strongest forms 
of denial : ' If,' said he, ' you suppose that I have 
concealed any treasure it must be in my own body. 
Rip me up and see/ The tormentor then tried the 
effect of fair words and promises ; but they were 
equally vain, as a matter of necessity. ' God protect 
you ; He has laid me aside, 5 said the poor old man : ' I 
am contented with my fate.' 

When the ladies, some of them the widows of 
deceased sovereigns, had been stripped of their small 
possessions, they were driven out to starve in the 
streets. Determined not to have all these crimes on 
his conscience for nothing, the Pa than sought for 
money right and left. The Nazir, once his friend, 
he squeezed of seven lakhs. On the 3rd he lolled 
upon the throne by the side of his protege, Bedar 
Bakht, smoking a water-pipe and sending the smoke 
into the Prince's face. In some such moments of 
repose he observed that a few fragments of gold still 
adhered to the decorations ; accordingly he gave 
orders for the total destruction of this venerable 
frame, which had survived the devastations of Nadir 
Shah ; and had all the bullion collected and thrown 


into the melting-pot. On the 7th he had a fit of 
remorse, during which he paid the old Emperor a 
visit, and offered to place on the throne his favourite 
son Akbar. That prince, curiously enough, did suc- 
ceed, years later ; and it was his son who was titular 
ruler for five months in 1857, when he permitted, if 
he did not order, worse atrocities than what he had 
witnessed as a child. 

At last, on the 10th of August, Ghulam Kadir found 
that he could command but little more time, and his 
small stock of patience was consumed by the twofold 
inroads of a crazy temper and a sense of coming 
danger *■ Followed by some of the more ruffianly of 
his men he entered the DlwdnKhds, and ordered that 
the deposed Shah should be brought before him. 
Once more the secret treasure was demanded, and 
once more the existence of treasure and of a secret 
was denied. After some further taunting and tortur- 
ing of his children, the old man was thrown ; his eyes 
were cut out by the knives of the Pathans; and the 
same fate would have been dealt to all the Princes 
present, old and young, but for the humane expos- 
tulations of the Treasurer, whom the Pathan did not 
care to offend. 

The luckless Shah was then dragged off to the part 
of the palace reserved for deposed Emperors and other 
such illustrious captives; and Ghulam Kadir had 
leisure for the indulgence of remorse and for a serious 

1 In moments of depression he attempted to excuse himself to 
his followers by saying that he was acting by angelic inspiration. 


consideration of his position. On the 12th he made 
a fresh attempt to conciliate Ismail Beg ; but that 
Mughal Murat was in no mood to be attached to such 
a cause. On the 14th, bodies of Maratha troops 
began to appear in the country, south of the city, 
sent from Mathura by Sindhia ; and Ismail Beg began 
to negotiate with emissaries from Bana Khan, Sin- 
dhia's favourite ' Brother ' and General. The city was 
all but invested ; the shop-keepers had shut up their 
shops and fled ; scarcity prevailed, intensifying day by 
day. Bersons of the most illustrious birth died of 
famine in the palace ; the spoiler alone continued to 
revel and banquet. 

But his men would not starve ; and they now de- 
manded provisions with murmurs and threats. One 
mutiny at least broke out, which the Bathan only 
suppressed at the risk of his life. On the 7th of 
September he resolved to abandon his position, now 
growing untenable ; he sent all his men across the 
river to the camp at Shahdara — the only spot of 
which he retained command, for Ismail had now 
ceased to give any support to an associate so useless 
and so discreditable. The bulk of the plunder was 
despatched towards Ghausgarh, a strong place near 
Muzafarnagar, of which nothing but the mosque now 
remains. On the 14th, Ghulam Kadir made a last 
attempt to extort from Shah 'Alam the supposed 
secret of the hid treasure. 

This curious situation was prolonged for more 
than three weeks, during which neither party cared 

140 mAdhava rAo sindhia 

to attack the other. At length came the nth of 
October, the last day of the great Musalman Fast of 
Muharam : and it became known that Ismail Beg 
had joined Rana Khan who had also received re- 
inforcements from the Deccan. Ghulam Kadir per- 
ceived that inaction was no longer possible. At any 
moment his camp might be attacked or the palace 
fortifications stormed. At nightfall, therefore, he 
blew up the powder magazine of the ' Red Castle ' — 
so the palace is called — and hurried across the river 
on an elephant, sending before him a number of 
hostages, consisting of members of the royal family, 
including B^dar Bakht, his own titular sovereign. 

Rana Khan immediately took possession of the 
palace, and caused the conflagration to be extinguished 
which was spreading from the magazine. Shah * Alam 
and the remaining ladies of his family were set at 
liberty, consoled, and provided with necessaries and 
comforts. The General then sent to Sindhia a report 
and a request for reinforcements, while the Pathans 
broke up from Shahdara and began their retreat 

It will be observed that the Darbar of Poona had 
been continuously supporting and strengthening the 
Patel. We have already had to mention three supplies 
of troops sent to him during his recent difficulties. 
The last was commanded by Takliji Holkar ; and it 
may be taken as a proof of Sindhia's mora] influence 
and of the confidence which he inspired that this 
was so. After due preliminary arrangements, as to 


division of labour and of the prospective prize, the 
combined force set off in pursuit of the Pathans. 
The latter, loaded with booty, had not been able to 
march farther than Mirath (now, as ' Meerut,' a well- 
known British Cantonment). Here, in those days, 
was a large fort into which Ghulam Kadir entered 
with the flower of his force, hoping for support from 
some of the Kohilla Chiefs of the neighbourhood 
and, perhaps, from the Cis-Sutlej Sikhs. Villain as 
he was, perhaps a criminal lunatic, Ghulam Kadir did 
not want for courage or for conduct ; but Sindhia 
felt that the wolf was now trapped, and caused the 
siege to be hotly pressed. The fort was completely 
invested, provisions failed, and after an obstinate 
defence of two months' duration Ghulam Kadir 
offered terms of surrender. These being refused, a 
general assault was delivered on 21st December. The 
garrison defended the walls through the short winter 
day ; but their Chief found that there was no more 
to be expected from followers who were weary of his 
ill-success if not disgusted by his crimes. He there- 
fore mounted his horse at nightfall and escaped by a 
sally-port, with the more portable part of his booty 
concealed in the stuffing of his saddle. In the morn- 
ing the garrison surrendered; the disappointment of 
Sindhia's officers may be imagined. But it was not 
destined to endure. The fugitive was brought in by 
the peasantry of the neighbourhood, by whom he had 
been seized and bound. Bana Khan immediately 
ordered a strong escort to convey him to the presence 

142 mAdhava rAo sjndhia 

of Sindhia at Mathura, where exemplary punishment 
would doubtless have been awarded. But the in- 
dignant soldiers spared their master all trouble: 
insulted and ill-treated on the road Ghulam Kadir 
was unable to control his temper : he became violent, 
and the men first blinded him, then mutilated, and 
finally hanged him on a road-side tree, 3rd of March, 
1789. The scene of this punishment is traditionally 
said to have been at Farrah, half-way between Agra 
and Mathura ; and Sindhia could do no more than 
send the mangled trunk to Delhi, where it was laid 
before the sightless Emperor, the most ghastly offer- 
ing that was ever presented in the beautiful Diwdn 
Khds 1 . The town of Ghausgarh was entirely de- 
stroyed with the exception of the great mosque. 
B^dar Bakht was made a prisoner and the Nazir 
trampled to death by an elephant. 

Turning from these tragic scenes, we observe, with 
a sense of relief, the generous efforts of Sindhia to 
provide for his unfortunate sovereign. By the un- 
written canons of Islam, no blind man could be a 
Sultan ; but Sindhia meant to do the whole business 
of State in future, and to spare the Shah the pain of 
a formal deposition. The Emperor was enthroned 
with due pomp, and the homage of the Peshwa and 
his Deputy was duly presented. Writing less than 

1 This is the pillared hall, still glowing with arabesque, on the 
cornice of which are painted the lines, * If there be a heaven on 
earth It is this, it is this, it is this.' The scenes that have taken 
place there have been often such as to be more suggestive of 
another place. 


two years later, M. de Boigne declared that Sh&h 
'Alam was still revered as the source of power and 
the fountain of honour in the entire peninsula, and 
expressly asserted that ' Sindhia participated in the 
reverence/ A civil list of nine Idkhs (say £90,000) 
a year was settled for the support of the Crown, t5 
which the British Government, though resolutely 
withholding tribute, added a compassionate allow- 
ance \ The Emperor was also allowed to appropriate 
the complimentary offerings of those who desired to 
be presented. For two generations more this faded 
semblance of a once mighty Empire continued to be 
maintained; and the East India Company coined 
money in the name of the Emperor long after its 
servants had become the paramount power in India. 
In 1 815, Lord Moira refused to visit Delhi because 
the then occupant of the palace, Shah 'Alam's son 
and successor, would not receive him on an equal 
footing. Criers still made public notices with the 
exordium — c The country is the Shah's ; the power 
is the Company's ; the people is God's.' The tenacity 
of the feeling was shown in 1857, when the revolted 
Sepoys ruined their chances by collecting round 
Shah 'Alam's grandson. When Delhi was taken the 
aged representative of the House of Taimur was 
taken to Burma, where he and his heir died in 

1 After the campaign of 1803 a monthly allowance of 90,000 Sicca 
rupees was settled by Lord Wellesley on Shah c Alam and his family, 
amounting to something considerably over £110,000 a year, ex- 
clusive of landed estates. 


captivity and exile ; the collateral members have 
merged in the general population. 
* It would therefore be an injustice and a mistake to 
consider Sindhia as the destroyer of the Empire. In 
very difficult circumstances he failed to support and 
protect an imbecile sovereign who was intriguing 
against him and playing into the hands of his op- 
ponents. Perhaps he might have prevented the de- 
plorable events which occurred in the palace during 
the summer of 1788 ; but he had better means of judg- 
ing possibilities than we can have : he could not have 
foreseen the conduct of a crazy ruffian who was then 
only known as a distinguished nobleman of ability 
and courage: and when at last he did interfere it 
cost him great reinforcements and a serious effort. 
But, when these had been crowned by a tardy success, 
he then displayed his usual good sense by saving 
from the wreck such shreds of empire as could be 
saved, and by maintaining forms respected by the 
public even while keeping the reality of power for 
his own use. 



Shah c Alam was an author, and wrote Persian 
poetry under the alias of Aftab ('Sun'). A curious 
specimen of his work has been preserved, a sort of 
Psalm composed after he had been blinded by Ghu- 
lam Kadir ; and a short extract may serve to show 
the change that had come over his sentiments in 
respect to the subject of this memoir after the failure 
of his hope of a Muhammadan revival. 

'Now that this young Afghan has destroyed the dignity of 

my State, 
I see none but Thee, Most High ! to have pity on me : 

Yet peradventure Timur Shah, my kinsman, may come to 

my aid, 
And Madhuji Sindhia — who is as a son to me — will avenge my 

cause : 
Asaf-ud-daula also ; and the chiefs of the English, 
They too may come to my relief: 

Shame were it if princes and peoples gathered not together, 
To the end that they might bring me help ! ' 

Here we have a glimpse of sound judgment and 
cheerful hope. The fallen monarch sees at last who 
are his true friends. Timur Shah, son of the famous 



Daurani of Panipat, had married the Shah's daughter; 
and perhaps aid from that quarter might have proved 
a source of ultimate embarrassment. But the others 
were all such as to give real help ; Asaf-ud-daula 
was the Nawab of Oudh, who had always shown an 
interest, however languid, in the Empire of which 
he was, in title, the hereditary Prime Minister. The 
like may be said of the f English,' or rather British 
Government in Bengal, which professed to hold the 
eastern provinces under the Shah's commission. As 
for Sindhia, he is now the Shah's chief hope ; and, 
instead of being blamed for neglect, is spoken of as 
' a son.' The hope, in his case, was not entirely vain ; 
and Sindhia was not wanting in filial attentions. 

He still, however, adhered to his favourite idea of 
being only a village- dignitary, acting as a subordinate 
agent of the Peshwa who was the real Vicegerent of 
the Mughal Empire. Accordingly, in native parlance, 
he is always known by the strange and discordant 
epithet of c Maharaja Patel ' ; or, as we might say, 
His Highness the Mayor. By the Emperor, however, 
he was now decorated with the more sonorous titles 
of Maddr-ul-mahdm, All Jdh, Bahddur — 'Exalted 
and illustrious Centre of affairs'; and, if a Mayor at 
all, he was Mayor-of-the-palace. 

His position was greatly improved by the recent 
revolution. In Muhammad Beg and Ghulam Kadir 
he had two formidable heads of Musalman opposition, 
both of whom had been swept from his path. Ismail 
Beg still remained ; but he was for the present gained 


to the side of order, having been conciliated by Rana 
Khan: Sindhia presently found a farther means of 
attaching the brave but unintelligent sabreur by be- 
stowing on him a part of the fief of Najaf Kuli who 
had lately died. The estates of this Chief were in the 
Rewari country, between Delhi and Alwar, and were 
the subject of counter-claims on the part of the Me- 
watis and the Jats ; so that Ismail not only had the 
honour of being an imperial feudatory, but also a 
prospect of occupation which would keep him out of 
mischief. Doubtless, if the Afghans should return 
and attempt a new crescentade, there was no cer- 
tainty that Ismail would have the self-control to 
keep out of the fray. We have ventured already 
to call this Chief 'the Mughal Murat'; he re- 
sembled the unlucky King of Naples in more ways 
than one, and one point of likeness was that he 
could not be trusted to act consistently, or with 
common prudence. 

Another present difficulty was the want of Euro- 
pean officers. Medoc had returned to France, where 
he was killed in a duel. De Boigne was dealing in 
indigo at Lucknow ; and the officer who had taken 
his place had suddenly disappeared, having, as was 
supposed, caught the jewel- bearing charger of Ghulam 
K&dir when that Chief was captured by the Mirath 
villagers \ The Patel was more than ever convinced 

1 His name appears to have been Listeneaux ; and the crown- 
jewels which he was believed to have appropriated have never been 
heard of since. 

K 2 


of the great importance of regular infantry and field- 
batteries under European discipline and leading : he 
accordingly determined, most wisely from this point 
of view, to ask M. de Boigne to return on his own 
terms. The Duke of Wellington, in later years, ex- 
pressed, from another point of view, doubts as to the 
wisdom of this course, stating the opinion that the 
Marathas would have ' been more formidable if they 
had never had a European or an infantry soldier in 
their service V But that opinion must be taken with 
the surrounding circumstances. As opposed to Asiatic 
troops, disciplined and led in the mediaeval manner, 
any tincture of scientific warfare was advantageous. 
Proofs of this have already appeared ; they will become 
more frequent presently. 

M. de Boigne was one of the most upright and able - 
soldiers then in India, and by no means a man 
to shrink from hard work. But he had learned the 
art of war in good schools — in the Irish brigade that 
fought at Fontenoy, in the army of Catherine II 
against the Turks, and in the native army of 
the Company at Madras in the very stress of the 
first Mysore War. He therefore knew the prin- 
ciples of scientific warfare, and he had learned how 
to apply them to the people and conditions of 
India. But to command two battalions and a 
light field-battery, however well-disciplined, was a 
thankless task when your leader was a promoted 
waterman or a self-taught Maratha, whose natural 

1 Selections from Correspondence, Sidney Owen, p. 336. 


resources were a bamboo spear and a clean pair of 

Nevertheless, to be himself a General, to organise 
and lead a uniform body, with complete solidarity 
and complete independence of other forces — this was 
what had been de Boigne's ambition ever since he 
left Calcutta ; and he had only withdrawn his ser- 
vices and taken to other paths when he found that 
he was expected to remain subordinate to incapable 
leaders and to be exposed to danger and respon- 
sibility by other men's blunders. 

Sindhia, for his part, was in no humour to make 
impossible terms. In addition to the difficulties 
already mentioned, his regulars were now in mutiny. 
Their Colonel had deserted, leaving eight months' 
pay in arrears ; and that is what the most disciplined 
mercenaries will not endure: Sindhia, on the other 
hand, would not brook mutiny, however it might 
be justified. An accommodation was effected with 
de Boigne, who was made commandant with discre- 
tionary powers. He prevailed upon Sindhia to 
abstain from his original plan of charging the bat- 
talions with all his cavalry, undertaking that they 
should be duly dealt with. He then, by a mixture of 
open threats and secret hints of pardon, prevailed on 
them to pile their arms and parade without them ; 
the battalions were then formally disbanded, after 
which the new commander re-enlisted all the men on 
new terms, with a present payment of half the arrears 
due; but he cashiered the officers who had been 

150 mAdhava rAo sindhia 

guilty of fomenting the discontents. Recruits were 
then sought for in Rohilkhand and Oudh — the future 
nursery of the famous Bengal army that committed 
suicide in 1857. The non-commissioned officers of 
the augmented force were taken from the best of the 
old battalions. By this scheme a show of punishment 
was inflicted for what had not been a very malicious 
offence ; and precious material was utilised for future 

The new force which, with Sindhia's willing con- 
sent, was now organised, gradually attained the 
strength of three brigades ; each of which, again, con- 
sisted of eight battalions ; some Mughal horse and 
forty field-pieces: each battalion had a European 
commandant, with some European or half-breed cap- 
tains. The General was at first allowed 4000 Rs. a 
month, afterwards increased to 6000; and he was 
soon after allotted certain revenue-paying districts 
about Aligarh from whence to provide the pay of his 
men and the expenses of his small army : the said 
districts being under his own direct management. 
This arrangement is a good example of the system of 
jaigirs (or tankhwdh-jaiddd, as the technical phrase 
went), and will be found more fully described here- 

By dint of unremitting labour the force was got 
into a semblance of readiness early in 1790, though it 
must have wanted hammering on the anvil of dis- 
cipline, to say nothing of the hardening temper of 
war. Still, as compared with the rest of the army, 


de Boigne's corps was as the steel head was to the 
bamboo lance ; and an opportunity soon offered for 
testing the weapon in active conflict. It has already 
been seen how unsteady were the motives and actions 
of Ismail Beg, and how little Sindhia could reckon 
either on his judgment or his fidelity. We have also 
observed the hostility of the Rajput Chiefs towards 
Sindhia. They had lately been in a state of sullen 
acquiescence ; but had now recovered their spirits for 
another campaign ; and the Beg, who regarded such 
things in the light of pleasure-parties, willingly left 
his dull life in Mewat, and took the field as an ally of 
Jaipur and Jodhpur pending the hoped-for descent of 
Taimur Shah from Kabul and Ghazni. 

To confront this combination, Sindhia sent forth a 
grand expedition under Gopal Rao Bhao, and Lakwa 
Dada, famous for his defence of Agra. To this was 
attached the new corps of General de Boigne, and 
they marched towards Jaipur in the hope of antici- 
pating the junction between the Beg and his Rajput 
allies. The Beg was hurrying towards the rendezvous 
at the head of a body of men-at-arms, disbanded 
Afghans and Persians, who had flocked to him in 
answer to his first summons. 

In speaking of these men as c cuirassiers ' and c men- 
at-arms ' an attempt is made to indicate that what 
was now devolving upon Sindhia was the experiment 
of opposing modern war to mediaeval war, men with 
muskets to men in armour. A detailed account of the 
battle of Panipat was given in Chapter II, partly in 

i5* mAdhava rAo sindhia 

order to show that the young Mar&th£ had then seen 
the experiment tried for the first time and ended by 
the most complete failure. The mailed horsemen of 
the Durani had utterly destroyed the southern army 
in spite of the gallant efforts of Ibrahim Gardi. It 
must therefore strike us as a strong mark of clearness 
and originality that Sindhia should have been able to 
pick the truth from such a confusing medium, and see 
that Ibrahim's overthrow proved nothing against the 
system. The 'Gardis' had completely baffled the 
Persian cavalry at Panipat ; and had all the Maratha 
infantry been like them, the result would have been 
the same all along the line. Sindhia might, we say, 
have observed this, with his clear vision ; he certainly 
saw it in Goddard's campaign in 1779 ; and perhaps, 
in later days, Gen. de Boigne may have quoted to him 
the remark made by Bernier in the palmy days of the 
Empire, that ' twenty-five thousand good troops under 
Turenne or Conde would trample under foot all the 
hosts of the Great Mughal.' 

That, then, was the issue now to be submitted to 
the arbitrament of actual warfare. Sindhia despatched 
his army from Mathura in March, 1790; de Boigne, 
though not ostensibly Commander-in-Chief, appears to 
have assumed direction as soon as the seat of war was 
reached. Early in May the army passed by Gwalior, 
and a cloud of light Maratha cavalry was sent out to 
cover the further advance and obtain intelligence of the 
enemy. On the 10th they sent word that Ismail was 
intrenched at Patan, in the rocky country between 


Gwalior and Ajmere, not very far from the scene of 
the three days' battle of 1787, at Lalsot. The Rajputs 
were at hand ; and the dreaded junction might have 
been easily effected. How dangerous these men were 
was afterwards to be shown. Indolent and untrained, 
they had habits of the most utter devotion; espe- 
cially was this the case with the Rathor cavaliers of 
Jodhpur, a body of whom, some years later, rode 
down du Drenec's brigade of regular troops, under 
French officers, in spite of a loss of 1500 of their 
number rolled over by grape from the well-served 
field-pieces 1 . But on the present occasion the raw 
levies of de Boigne were saved from this experience. 
The vigilance of Sindhia had been on the alert ; presents 
and promises had been made ; and the support of 
these gallant Hindus was withheld from the Muham- 
madan adventurers. Left to his own resources, the 
Beg for more than three weeks defended his lines 
against the assaults of the Marathas. At last, his 
scanty stock of patience being quite exhausted, pro- 
visions also probably falling short, he sallied out, to 
assume the offensive, on the 19th of June. The Mughal 
men-at-arms, with trumpets and kettle-drums, and 
flashing armour, thundered down upon de Boigne's 
field-batteries and sabred the gunners at their posts. 
Between the charges the infantry were pelted by 
grape from the intrenchments, and de Boigne had 

1 This battle was fought at Sanganir in 1 799 : Skinner has 
described it from his own observation. In spite of the gallantry 
of their cavalry the Kajputs lost the day. 


to form square, like Wellington just a quarter of 
a century later, as fast as the hostile horsemen re- 
newed their charges. Towards the end of the day 
de Boigne, observing signs of exhaustion on the part 
of the enemy, determined upon reversing the situation. 
Placing himself in front of the line he deployed his 
unbroken battalions and led them against the batteries. 
The first was carried with the shock ; a hard struggle 
took place for the second, but it was mastered by 
8 p.m. ; the third fell an hour after ; the enemy ceased 
to resist, and their leader with his personal following 
fled for refuge to the city of Jaipur. The abstinence 
of Holkar, who was near enough to have taken the 
part of Blucher in 1815, rendered the pursuit imper- 
fect; nevertheless Ismail lost his guns, elephants, 
and baggage ; and on the following day his regular 
battalions and ten thousand irregular troops went over 
to the Marathas. De Boigne in his report estimates 
the Mughal cavalry at 5000 sabres ; and attributes his 
success to the firmness of his own battalions. l Thank 
God,' he adds, 'I have realised all the sanguine 
expectations of Sindhia.' How steadily his men must 
have fought may be judged from their return of 120 
killed and 472 wounded. The aggregate forces of the 
enemy were estimated at 20,000 horse and 25,000 
foot, with one hundred pieces of artillery ; the whole 
of which, however, did not come into action; those 
who did were worsted by the steady valour of less 
than 10,000 men, mostly young soldiers who had 
never seen a shot fired in anger. 


In not giving substantial aid to the Beg, Partab 
Singh may seem to have acted a spiritless part. But 
the Kachwaha tribe, of which he was the head, were 
a more peaceful people, and lived in more accessible 
places than their Rajput brethren of Mar war or Jod h- 
pur. Old Bijai Singh, the Jodhpur Raja, finally suc- 
cumbed to Sindhia's superior forces ; but he had not 
made up his mind to do so without another struggle, 
which he began by a clumsy attempt to corrupt Gen. 
de Boigne, in his eyes no better than the ordinary 
military adventurer of the India of that day. He 
accordingly sent a message to the General in which, 
after many compliments upon his late exhibition of 
skill and valour, he was proffered the gift of the town 
of Ajmere and the surrounding district on condition 
of his joining the Rajputs against Sindhia. But the 
General answered, with polite but grim pleasantry, 
that Sindhia had already bestowed upon him not 
only Ajmere but all the territories of Jaipur and 
Jodhpur ; so that his respected correspondent might 
judge of the insufficiency of the tendered bribe. On 
the 2 1st of August, 1790, the General proceeded 
to make good his boast by entering the town of 
Ajmere, which was not sufficiently strong, either 
in fortification or garrison, to offer the faintest 

THis famous town is the centre of a plateau forming 
the watershed of the part of India in which its bound- 
aries lie, and it is the highest point on the plains of 
Hindustan. It is bounded on the north by the States 

156 mAdhava rAo sindhia 

of Kishngarh and Jodhpur, on the west by Jodhpur, 
on the south by Udaipur, and on the east by Kishan- 
garh and the Jaipur territory : and it is crossed by the 
chain of the Aravalli Hills, of which the highest peak — 
2855 feet above sea-level — is occupied by the citadel, 
which is called Taragarh (Star-Fort), a solid work of 
the Jodhpur Rajas dating from the days of Babar, 
founder of the Mughal Empire. Taken by the Em- 
peror Akbar, who built a palace by the lake and 
surrounded the city with stone walls, the city formed 
a place of arms ; and during the vigorous period of 
the Empire it continued to be an occasional country- 
seat of the sovereign and a strategic point for the 
command and control of the surrounding principalities 
of the Rajputs. In the decadence under Muhammad 
Shah, it was taken, for Bijai Singh, by Jai Apa, a chief 
of the Sindhia clan ; but Bijai Singh soon after mur- 
dered Jai Apa and occupied the place on his own 
account. In 1754 he was attacked by Malhar Rao and 
Jankluji Sindhia (Madhu's grandfather) by whom he 
was compelled to acknowledge the overlordship of the 
Maratha power, and was allowed to hold the city and 
districts as a vassal of that State. When Jaipur and 
Jodhpur rose against Sindhia in 1787, as related in 
Chapter IV, the Rathors of the latter State annulled 
their tributary engagement ; and it had now become 
a paramount object with Sindhia to recover the posi- 
tion, by which he would not only give the Rajputs 
a signal lesson but would regain a post which severed 
their communications with each other. It was for 


these reasons that he had, as General de Boigne put 
it, given Ajmere to him. 

The fort of Taragarh commands the town, and is 
almost entirely surrounded by precipices which it 
seems impossible to scale. Elsewhere the approach 
is defended by walls more than three yards in thick- 
ness and twenty feet high, built of huge blocks of 
stone hewn and fitted. In the enclosure are large 
tanks of rain-water, which furnish an almost inex- 
haustible supply \ Despite these advantages it now 
seemed in danger of yielding to the skill and audacity 
of the General. and his 'new model' before the tardy 
Rathors could arrive for its relief. 

Informed of their approach, the General turned 
from his prey and, leaving 2700 men to maintain 
the blockade of Taragarh, he marched down the 
Jodhpur road. He found the Rathors encamped 
under the protection of the walls of Merta, seventy- 
six miles north-east of Ajmere. The spot was of evil 
omen for Bijai Singh, being the very scene of his 
defeat by Sindhia's uncle thirty-six years before. On 
the evening of the 9th of September de Boigne came 
in sight of the Rathor position, which was on a level 
plain protected on the rear by the town, situated on 
a rising ground and fortified partly with earthen 
mounds, partly by walls of masonry. De Boigne's 
colleague, Gopal Rao, urged him to attack without 
delay ; but the General's superior caution and science 
overcame the ardour of the Maratha. The men, as 

1 See Imperial Gazetteer, in v. Ajmere-Merwara. 


he observed, had made a long march, and stood in 
need of food and rest ; while, should they, as was to 
be hoped, defeat the enemy, the approaching dark- 
ness would render pursuit impossible. The Maratha 
yielding to these arguments, arrangements were made 
for the night, and for a general attack before daybreak. 
On the other side the enemy passed the night in 
festivity. In point of numbers the two armies were 
not very unequal : if the Bathors were superior in 
cavalry the troops of Sindhia were better disciplined 
and equipped ; the Eathor horse were estimated at 
30,000 sabres ; but they were not so strpng in infantry 
or, indeed, in generalship. 

In the grey of the morning, while the old Eaja and 
his men were sleeping off their debauch, their camp 
was surprised by Col. de Eohan at the head of three 
of de Boigne's best battalions. But the surprise was 
momentary. A body of Eathor cavalry, of the 
famous Chandawat clan, rapidly formed and mounted, 
drove out Eohan's battalions, and charged down upon 
the Maratha horsemen of the right wing. Scattering 
these like chaff before the wind, the gallant cavaliers 
re-formed to ride back. But the infantry had recovered 
from their confusion : in serried squares bristling with 
bayonets and dealing out a well-nourished fire, they 
barred the way ; field-pieces vomited grape from the 
intervals ; the story goes that four thousand saddles 
were emptied in the return ride. Eelieved from this 
tempest, the battalions of de Boigne deployed into 
line and advanced upon the Eathor camp, supported 


by their field-batteries. The Rathors fought well till 
9 o'clock ; their camp was stormed by 10, and then 
they fled, their retreat covered by the remainder of 
their cavalry. The whole camp, with munitions of 
war and a vast plunder, fell into the hands of the 
conquerors ; and the town was taken by assault the 
same afternoon. 

Taragarh, left to its own resources, capitulated ; 
and on the 18th of November Bijai Singh made his 
peace with his irresistible antagonist, who entered 
Jodhpur on that day : the Eana of Udaipur hastened 
to follow his example. The humble slipper-carrier 
was now at his zenith ; he who, as the last wreck of 
a ruined family and a lost cause, had barely escaped 
with his life forty years before by the help of a 
humane waterman, was now lord of Central India and 
great part of Hindustan. But he thought nothing- 
done while aught remained to do ; and the next task 
that he imposed upon his able General was the punish- 
ment of Jaipur, where Ismail Beg had been harboured 
after the defeat of Pathan. But the Raja, Partab Singh, 
was now isolated : Ismail had left him, to take fresh 
harbour with the widow of Najaf Kuli Khan — lately 
deceased. Bijai Singh and other Chiefs of the Rajputs 
had been beaten into submission; and the Jaipuris, 
as already stated, were not of exceptional enterprise 
or tenacity. After one faint attempt at resistance, 
which was overcome in a single battle, Partab Singh 
also submitted. 

In order to retain his dearly-bought supremacy, 

160 mAdhava rAo sindhia 

Sindhia now determined on a further augmentation of 
the section of his army to which it was so evidently- 
due. De Boigne was accordingly instructed to raise 
his legion to 18,000 regular infantry with a number 
of light troops and some additional guns : and a tract 
of country was assigned for the support of the forces, 
which extended from Delhi to Mathura, and north- 
ward to the boundary of what is now the district of 
Bulandshahr. The total land revenue of this tract 
was twenty-two Idkhs a year ; and it was reckoned 
that, after liquidating the pay of officers and men, the 
General would have for his administrative labours a 
recompense in the shape of a surplus profit of 40,000 
Rs. a year ; independent of which he drew his pay, 
now raised to 6000 Rs. monthly, besides miscel- 
laneous perquisites. His headquarters were to be 
Aligarh, where he built a house, called Sahib-Bagh, 
which is still to be seen half-way between the fort 
and the town of Ko'il. His arsenal was in the fort of 

But, before the submission of Jaipur had allowed 
the General to enter upon the peaceful labours of a 
civil administrator, he was obliged to take the field 
against a new and unexpected enemy. 

In 1 791 Lord Cornwallis found himself obliged to 
abandon his peaceful policy and make war upon 
Tipii, the Sultan of Mysore. The operations were, at 
first, far from successful; and Sindhia, who was 
always somewhat distracted between admiration for 
the British soldier and perplexity at the policy of 


the British statesman, thought that the failure of the 
campaign offered an opportunity which he ought not 
to neglect. He therefore proposed to the Governor- 
General an alliance in which he should take part in 
the operations against Tipii on condition that two 
British battalions should temporarily attend his 
person, and that he should be otherwise assisted in 
operations in Bajputana. Somewhat to his surprise, 
the proposal was courteously declined ; but if the 
manner was friendly, the act was not the less un- 
gracious. Sindhia's surprise deepened into alarm 
when he found that the Court of Poona had been 
applied to when his aid had been rejected; and that 
the Nana had pledged the Peshwa to a participation 
in the next campaign. 

By the coalition treaty, signed on the ist of June, 
1790, the darbar of Poona had agreed to furnish 10,000 
men, though the Nana did not at once recall his agent 
from Tipu's Court. Their assistance was the reverse 
of profitable to Cornwallis ; but the British soon 
showed how little dependent they were on any Ma- 
ratha aid. In 1792 Cornwallis resumed the offensive, 
took one strong place after another, and sat down 
before Seringapatam, with a strong and thoroughly 
equipped army in February. Tipii was fain to sub- 
mit and to cede territory yielding over one hundred 
Idkhs of yearly revenue ; and, despite their languid 
support, the Marathas were rewarded by a third of 
this acquisition. 

While Sindhia was being thus countermined and 

1 62 mAdhava rAo sindhia 

isolated by the ingenious Nana, he was threatened by 
another peril. The terror of northern invasion, which 
had been so cruel a reality in living memory, was 
reviving. Sindhia was wont to declare that, in his 
dreams, he still often heard the lobbing paces of the 
Afghan pursuer's horse and the roar of his broken 
wind. A repetition of the campaign of 1 760-1 seemed 
always possible ; and it was never certain that one of 
its features would not be a Musalman league in which 
the part of Shuja-ud-daula would be repeated by his 
son, with Ismail Beg for his champion. The Beg was 
still abroad, and, for the present, beyond reach ; but 
the Nawab was at hand, lazy and unpopular. Here 
again the British stopped the way. Major Palmer 
was instructed to inform Sindhia that, in any just 
claims upon Oudh, the good offices of the Government 
were at his service; but he was warned that the 
Nawab was the ally of the British, who would resent 
any injury done to him or to the people of his 


Sindhia in Apogee 

The good news of de Boigne's successes in Raj- 
putana formed some kind of compensation to Madhoji 
as he pondered over the circumstances of the political 
situation in his favourite cantonment of Mathura. 
This was a place of peculiar sanctity in Hindu opinion ; 
but its chief recommendation to the judgment of 
Sindhia was not, perhaps, so much its sanctity as its 
strategic and political advantages. About half-way 
between his arsenal at Agra and the capital of the 
empire at Delhi, it commanded the Jat country and 
afforded easy access, by way of Gwalior, to Malwa 
and the Deccan. Now, when he was becoming un- 
easy in regard to the attitude of the British and of 
the Nana, he determined to leave de Boigne in charge 
of his interests in Hindustan and make a personal 
appearance at the Court of Poona. 

We have already (v. Chap. II) sketched the state 
of things at the Maratha capital up to the Treaty of 
Salbai in 1782. Since then Raghuba had been put 
into confinement, and Madhava Rao II, brother of the 
murdered Narayan Rao, had been set up as Peshwa,the 



control of affairs being assumed by the Nana. Malhar 
Rao's son's widow having approved of this arrange- 
ment allowed her henchman, Takuji, to lead the forces 
of Indore, sometimes against Mysore, sometimes against 
Sindhia's Rajput and Musalman enemies. Numberless 
instances are on record of the wisdom and benevo- 
lence of this lady — whose honoured name was Ahalya 
Bai — and she was a good friend to Sindhia to the 
end of his public life : on one occasion supplying an 
emergent necessity of his with a generous gift of 
thirty Idkhs, disguised as a loan of which repayment 
was never demanded. 

Ahalya Bai resided at Indore — still the capital of 
the Holkar dominions, a short distance south of 
Sindhia's Malwa capital of Ujjain ; and it is believed 
that at no period in the history of that fertile coun- 
try have the people lived in more peaceful or pros- 
perous enjoyment of their natural advantages or had 
a more truly popular government than under these 
two benevolent and able rulers. The golden age of 
Malwa, in the midst of distracted neighbours, lasted 
thirty years after her death, the people still fondly 
spoke of her as an ' Avatar,' or divine incarnation. 
6 Ahalya Bai,' said a female contemporary, 'is not 
beautiful ; but the light of Heaven is upon her face.' 

In 1 79 1 the Bai was growing old, being worn by 
incessant attention to business and by religious 
austerities. Takuji had always shown respect and 
obedience to her behests ; but he was becoming 
jealous of Sindhia's greatness, and dissatisfied with 


the division of territory and revenue which had 
been acquired by the help of his forces, but of which 
Sindhia seemed to reap all the harvest. Takuji was 
now in Malwa, engaged in forming a rival to Sin- 
dhia's regular force : for which purpose he had retained 
the services of the Chevalier du Drenec, a Breton 
officer of experience and repute. Apart from this 
threatening aspect of the chief soldier of the Indore 
State, Sindhia had other reasons for desiring a per- 
sonal influence in Poona politics. Though so much 
absorbed in remote affairs and interests, he had 
always done his best to keep touch with the Nana ; 
and it was to this that he had been indebted, during 
his late reverses, for timely help, supplied at first 
somewhat grudgingly, but more freely at last. Now, 
however, the attitude of Holkar was becoming hostile 
and the Nana's support doubtful. 

Accordingly, Sindhia made a slow and tentative 
march through Central India, accompanied by a 
small but compact force so as not to cause alarm, and 
announcing that he was only coming as a messenger 
from Shah 'Alam, charged with presents and insignia 
for the young Peshwa. He arrived at Poona on the 
nth of June, 1792, and pitched in the grounds of 
the British Residency. Ten days later, he proceeded 
to wait upon the Peshwa in darbar, bringing as his 
offering all sorts of costly rarities and products of 
Hindustan. The virtual sovereign ruler of Hin- 
dustan, victorious in diplomacy or war over all op- 
ponents, lord of vast provinces and of unconquered 


legions, he approached the State- enclosure on foot, 
leaving his elephant and his body-guard of grenadiers 
under European officers at the confines of his own 
camp. On entering the tent he took his station 
below all the officials present ; when the Peshwa 
appeared Sindhia made his obeisance with the rest ; 
and, declining the invitation to be seated, produced a 
bundle, out of which he unwrapped a pair of new 
slippers. 'This/ he murmured, c was my father's 
occupation, and it must also be mine.' Then, re- 
verently removing the slippers which the young 
Chief had been wearing, he wrapped them in the 
cloth from which he had taken the new pair ; and, 
having laid them before the Peshwa, permitted 
himself to accept the reiterated invitation to be 
seated, still carrying the Peshwa s old shoes under his 

Next day there was a second, and even more 
solemn levde, for the purpose of publicly investing 
the Peshwa with the office of Vicegerent of the Empire 
and with its symbolical insignia. At the end of the 
principal tent stood an empty throne which repre- 
sented the throne of the Emperor ; and upon this 
the Peshwa deposited an offering of one hundred and 
one gold mohrs *. He then followed Sindhia into a 
side-room, whence he presently emerged, clothed in 
robes of honour, wearing five superb pieces of jewelry 
and bearing in one hand a sword, in the other a 
seal and inkstand. Fans of peacock's feathers and a 

1 Probably, like the modern mohr, pieces of sixteen rupees each. 


gilt sedan-chair, a charger, and six elephants, laden 
with banners of state and emblems of heraldry, 
completed the pageant. Two patents from the Im- 
perial Chancery were then exhibited — one allowing 
Sindhia the right of appointing his successor as 
deputy, the other forbidding the slaughter of horned 

This scene, which took place on the 22nd of June, 
exhibits at once the art with which Sindhia attempted 
to impose on the imagination of others, and the firm- 
ness with which he grasped substantial advantages 
for himself. It did not signify a copper piece to him 
whether or no the hereditary President of a dis- 
solving confederacy wore the order of the Silver 
Fish as Lieutenant of a moribund Empire. He may 
not have greatly cared whether or no the use of beef 
was rendered impossible to one-fifth of the popula- 
tion. But for the multitude such things had an 
importance which he judged it prudent to consider; 
so that the vulgar at both extremes of society might 
agree to let real power remain with him from whom 
these good things came. 

It was the same with his slipper- carrying and his 
title of Patel; a well-informed writer testifies that 
' Madhoji made himself a sovereign by calling himself 
a servant.' Such was the tradition when Malcolm 
wrote, in Malwa, a quarter of a century later \ 

Leaving Sindhia in the performance of duties 
which may remind us of the Baron of Bradwardine, 

1 Central India, i. 125. 


we must resume fche story of events in Hindustan 
during his absence. Scarcely had he crossed the 
Narbadd when Holkar advanced on Hindustan. Sum- 
moning Ismail Beg from his temporary retirement, he 
forced a rupture with Sindhias agents by demanding 
a settlement of accounts. 

Ismail was the first and nearest danger. The widow 
of Najaf Kuli Khan was a sister of the late Ghulam 
Kadir ; and, like him, had inherited some of the tur- 
bulent spirit of their father, the troublesome but in- 
effectual Zabita Khan. She now put Ismail Beg in 
command of one of her strong places, the fort of 
Kanaund, where her husband was residing at the 
time of his death, and which he had strengthened in 
view of the possible eventualities of those troubled 
times. It was a stronghold of earthen walls faced 
with stone, on the border of the Bikaner desert ; and 
being surrounded by sandhills and tamarisk scrub, 
was unfavourable to the approach of a hostile army, 
seeing that it was both deficient in water-supply and 
almost impassable for siege-guns. De Boigne, how- 
ever, saw the necessity of striking quick and hard. 
He therefore ordered a brigade of infantry with field- 
pieces to march against Kanaund, under Colonel 
Perron— afterwards his successor in the command of 
the regular troops. Perron, whom the General then 
considered a plain soldier, possessed of honesty and 
good sense, lost no time in making his way through 
the dry and difficult country. Nothing daunted by 
former defeats, the Beg sallied forth to the attack : 


but it was to little purpose. He was worsted and 
driven into the Fort, the defence of which he, for the 
next few days, conducted to the best of his not too 
consummate ability. But the virago was presently 
killed by a shell or round shot from Perron's bat- 
teries ; and her men, losing heart, began to regard 
Ismail as a burden of whom they would do well to 
rid themselves. Discovering their feelings, and fear- 
ing that he might be handed over as a sacrifice, the 
Beg made up his mind to appeal to the humanity of 
the Faringhi colonel. Perron gladly agreed to spare 
his life on condition of his surrendering the place; 
and the redoubtable sabreur was sent as a prisoner 
to Agra, where he died some years after. 

Scarcely was General de Boigne freed from this 
adversary when a more formidable opponent appeared 
upon the scene. This was Takuji Holkar in person ; 
who, possibly instigated by his son, Jaswant Rao, had 
shown ill-feeling against Lakwa Dada, the representa- 
tive of Sindhia in Hindustan, and crossed the Chambal 
with evidently hostile intentions. Gopal Rao was 
the nearest of Sindhia's commanders, and he sent to 
de Boigne for aid, being in great alarm at the reports 
of Holkars great force and especially of the new 
model under du Drenec. Of this there were four 
battalions, with their due complement of guns ; but 
de Boigne hastened to meet them with such strength 
as he could command of what Sindhia called ' the 
army of the Empire ' : a strange epithet seeing that 
the force so described was paid and used by a 


Maratha and marched under the white cross of Savoy. 
The corps of de Boigne took the field 9000 strong ; 
but before it encountered Holkar the General was 
joined by Lakwd D&da with his Mar&tha horse. 
Holkar had 30,000 cavalry and numerous guns, when 
de Boigne (20 September, 1792) came upon him at 
the Pass of Lakhairi, on the way from K&naund to 

Du Drenec was an experienced soldier, and the 
ground had been well chosen : the trained battalions 
held the crest of the pass, the low ground at the foot 
of which was still soaking with monsoon-flood: the 
sides were flanked by dense tree-jungle, and there 
were thirty-eight guns in position. Now, for the 
first time in Indian history, was the new warfare to 
be waged on both sides. Previous battles had been 
of the new against the old ; this one was to be the 
first of a fresh series which only ended at Gujarat in 
1849. No longer was a mailed gendarmerie to dash 
itself to pieces against the rocks of discipline and 
science ; but field artillery and lines of musketry 
were to be moved against each other in tactical 
array. General de Boigne felt that the situation was 
critical, and acted with even more than his usual 
prudent valour. Ascending a neighbouring eminence 
he reconnoitred the position of the enemy, whose 
infantry he found posted as in an artificial work, 
supported by a strong artillery, and protected by the 
vast force of cavalry already mentioned. Then, de- 
scending to his own formations, he threw out 500 


Rohilla horsemen under the screen of whose line he 
advanced his infantry with fixed bayonets over the 
swamp that lay between him and the pass. But it 
seemed as if every element of difficulty was to test 
his skill that day. His columns were at once exposed 
to a murderous fire from Holkar's batteries, to which 
he could at first make no sufficient reply, by reason 
of the speed with which he had advanced. As his 
batteries, slowly drawn by oxen, came within range a 
tumbril of ammunition was struck by a hostile shell, 
and exploded : the explosion spread around ; in a 
moment ten or twelve others caught fire, and scat- 
tered noise, and smoke, and havoc. Holkar, observ- 
ing the confusion thus engendered in de Boigne's 
ranks, hurled his horse against them from among the 
trees ; the charge was vainly opposed by de Boigne's 
lighter and less numerous cavalry. But Holkar and 
his horsemen were unable to penetrate the opposite 
jungle, whither de Boigne had withdrawn his in- 
fantry, and at the word of command the seasoned 
veterans, protected in the covert, began to pour a 
ceaseless volley into the disorganised squadrons of 
Holkar. As soon as their advance was turned into 
retreat, de Boigne's Rohilla horse charged home ; 
confusion became rout ; and then the infantry, the 
victors of Patan and Merta, supported by their guns, 
emerged from the covert to storm the pass. Du 
Drenec had but 1500 men with whom to hold it, but 
they did their best ; not until almost all the officers 
and men had fallen did resistance cease upon the crest. 


which was at last possessed by de Boigne, with thirty- 
eight captured guns. The shattered forces of Holkar 
followed him across the Chambal, into Northern 
Malwa, where Takuji consoled himself for his defeat 
by harrying the country and sacking Sindhia' s chief 
town Ujjain. De Boigne's experience of fighting was 
considerable ; he had seen the three days of Lalsot, 
the rout of Chaksana, Rana Khan's hard-won victory 
at Fatehpur-Sikri, and the determined conflicts of 
Ismail and Bijai Singh. But, of all the actions that 
he ever witnessed, this encounter with du Drenec's 
raw recruits was, so he asserted, the most obstinate. 
The quarrel, indeed, has been thought to have been, 
originally, rather of the nature of a personal wrangle 
over accounts than a regular war between the clans of 
Holkar and Sindhia. Nevertheless from henceforth 
Holkar was to Sindhia a thorn in the side ; and the 
feud was to be inherited, as one Sindhia was succeeded 
by another, in the succession of a new and still more 
formidable Holkar. 

Sindhia remained at Poona ; and in July professed 
to have received ' orders 9 from the Court of Delhi to 
collect tribute from the British administration in 
Bengal. This, apparently, was one of Sindhia' s ten- 
tative endeavours to ascertain how far the pacific 
policy of Lord Cornwallis would carry him in conces- 
sion. The last attempt of that kind had been the 
somewhat arrogantly declined offer of alliance at the 
commencement of the Mysore war : and it is difficult 
to understand why a fresh experiment on British 


patience should have been attempted just as Corn- 
wallis had brought that war to a successful termina- 
tion. Nevertheless, such was the fact ; and the issue 
of the said 'orders' was announced in the Court 
Circular of Delhi, in July 1792. A similar move 
had been, it may be recollected, most sternly rebuked 
by Macpherson's Government so far back as 1785 ; 
and the present attempt fared no better. Whether 
from prudence or from pride, Cornwallis would not 
submit to what his predecessor had already character- 
ised as an -insult. In a State-paper of % August, Lord 
Cornwallis treated the subject with all due gravity ; 
giving orders that information should be 'conveyed 
to Madhoji Sindhia that — in the present condition of 
affairs at the Court of Delhi — he, Sindhia, would be 
held personally answerable for every writing that 
might be issued in the name of the Emperor, and 
that any such attempt to assert a claim to tribute 
from the Bengal Government would be warmly re- 
sented/ Once more the disinclination of the British 
to interfere in Hindustan was stated with, perhaps, 
superfluous emphasis, especially when one recollects 
what took place little more than ten years later. 
But a significant clause was added, to the effect that, 
1 should any one be rash enough to insult them by an 
unjust demand, in whatever shape or form, they felt 
themselves both disposed to resent it and fully 
capable of exacting satisfaction.' Whatever may be 
thought of the justice or legality of this attitude its 
effect on the clear-headed statesman for whose behoof 


it was displayed was ample justification of its peremp- 
tory style. Sindhia hastened to disavow the inten- 
tions attributed to him by the Delhi scribe. He 
assured the Governor-General that he regarded His 
Excellency as supreme in his own dominions, and 
that, for his own part, his sole object was to extend 
and conserve the Imperial authority in those parts of 
India which still remained subject to the Emperor. 

How far this language was sincere must be esti- 
mated by each of us according to his own information 
and his own habits of thought. A brilliant Indian 
historian of our own day has given a picture of 
Sindhia's policy somewhat different from that which 
has been adopted in the present pages. The troops 
organised and disciplined by de Boigne had disposed 
of the Musalman and Hindu opponents of Sindhia; 
' but,' says Colonel Malleson, c he still looked for more 
at their hands. It must never be lost sight of that 
the great dream of Madhaji (sic) Sindhia' s life was to 
unite all the native powers of India in one great 
confederacy against the English. In this respect he 
was the most far-sighted statesman that India has 
ever produced. ... It was a grand idea, capable of 
realisation by Madhaji, but by him alone, and which, 
but for his death, would have been realised V 

Doubtless, such a scheme would have been a c grand ' 

1 See Final French Struggles in India; a book in which an almost 
forgotten episode of Indian history is set forth in a bright and 
fascinating manner, and generous record given to the doings of 
some very gallant, though mostly unsuccessful, men. 


one, if only the means for its accomplishment had 
been forthcoming : and we have no positive evidence 
that Sindhia was blind to its attractions. But those 
who have observed the sayings and doings of the 
subject of this sketch will, surely, fail to find in it 
any positive evidence that Sindhia had seriously 
entertained such a ' dream,' at any moment subse- 
quent to the Treaty of Salbai ; much less that he 
considered himself able to have 'realised' it. He 
had a great and always-growing respect for the 
military resources of the British, which he had seen 
rise superior to every power in the peninsula, whether 
European or Asiatic. He had twice disclaimed with 
almost abject apology all intention of demanding from 
the British Government payment of tribute, which was 
indeed due on the twofold ground of constitutional 
usage and actual treaty-obligation. He had tendered 
aid against Mysore when Tipii was in the plenitude 
of his power. He had certainly not been encouraged 
by General de Boigne to think that his Hindustani 
levies with their two or three European, or Eurasian, 
officers to each battalion, could be a match against 
Sepoy-divisions fully provided with white officers, 
and stiffened with regiments of British grenadiers, 
and gunners, and dragoons. It is on record that his 
successor, on parting from de Boigne, received from 
that great soldier the earnest warning 'Never to 
quarrel with the British, and rather to disband his 
army than hazard it in a conflict with them.' We 
may safely dismiss from our minds the suspicion that 


Mddhava Sindhia commissioned General de Boigne to 
raise or maintain his disciplined army-corps with any- 
other intention than the obvious and avowed one of 
being able to c extend and preserve the authority of 
the Emperor (i. e. of himself), in those territories 
which still remained under the direct administration 
of the Empire.' 

After his successes against Holkar, de Boigne ex- 
torted from the vanquished and isolated Raja of 
Jaipur a promise of tribute, with an immediate pay- 
ment of seventy Idkhs of rupees as a war-indemnity. 
He then set his face homeward, seeking repose for 
his men and for himself after their long and arduous 
labours. The character and conduct of the General 
are of interest to us here, as showing the acuteness 
which had led Sindhia to select him for employment 
in the first instance ; and, having done so, to yield 
him the most implicit confidence. The after-relations 
between Sindhias successor and Perron suffice to 
show the difficulties that beset ordinary men in such 
a position, and the dangers to which Sindhia and de 
Boigne might, like their successors, have succumbed 
if they had not both been men far above the ordinary 

At the time of which we are now taking note, 
Perron was no more than a subordinate, carrying out 
with praiseworthy punctuality the orders of his su- 
periors. When de Boigne went back to Aligarh he 
detached Perron, under Sindhias orders, bidding him 
attend Sindhia at Poona with 10,000 of the regular 


infantry. In issuing these orders, Colonel Malleson 
conceives Sindhia to have been actuated by a desire 
to ' attain what had been the dream of his later years 
... to form one vast combination against the Eng- 
lish/ In the absence of proof, we may content 
ourselves with supposing the plain and sufficient 
motive of finding material support in establishing 
and maintaining the preponderant influence at the 
Court of the young Peshwa, which was necessary to 
protect Sindhia against the growing hostility of the 
Holkars and the Nana Farnavis. 

In all his acknowledged projects Sindhia had at 
last become perfectly successful. The fame of his 
political sagacity and the terror of his General's 
military skill and resolution were now acknowledged 
from the boundary of the Punjab to the frontier of 
Kohilkhand from the Jumna to the Narbada. The 
Chevalier du Drenec ultimately left the service of 
Holkar and had accepted the command of a brigade 
under Perron. His house is still pointed out at Koil, 
where we may imagine him settled as a neighbour to 
Perron at Sahib-bdgh, giving his General the benefit 
of his assistance and the pleasure derivable from the 
society of a well-bred Frenchman in the intercourse 
of private life. Not far off, at Sirdhana, were the 
headquarters of the able and ambitious Christian lady 
who had succeeded to the command of Sombre's 
brigade and to the civil management of his jaigir. 

Indian administration was not then either under- 
stood or organised as has since been the case. A few 


178 mAdhava rAo sindhia 

years afterwards, when the country had been for 
some time under the negligent rule of Perron, the 
people had relapsed into a state of misery and mis- 
government almost as intolerable as in the great 
anarchy which had followed on the invasion of Nadir 
Shah, and of which a brief notice, from native sources, 
has been already given. The effete remains of Ak- 
bar's system had long since quite broken down ; the 
fields were almost absorbed in forest and turned into 
tiger-haunted jungles. Hardly more than half a 
century ago one of Lord Auckland's aides-de-camp 
hunted tigers in the district of Muzafarnagar, where 
such an animal would now be as great a wonder as 
on Salisbury Plain. In the neglected villages the 
peasantry, reduced in numbers and inured to violence, 
withheld the payment of rent and revenue, and en- 
hanced the scanty produce of their few cultivated 
acres by robbing travellers and by lifting the cattle 
of more prosperous neighbours. In the heart of this 
unhappy country de Boigne and the Begam of Sir- 
dhana attempted the first restoration of order and 
welfare. The tracts assigned to the former consisted 
of thirty-two pargands, or fiscal unions, and were 
estimated to yield a yearly revenue of some two 
hundred and fifty Idkhs. The domain of the Begam 
was less extensive, but the system adopted in each 
was very much the same. 

In his civil administration the General instituted 
two departments ; the ' Persian ' side was conducted 
by native writers and accountants; but there was 


also a ' French ' office under his own superintend- 
ence. The public dues were fixed by a rough assess- 
ment of the landed estates ; and the collections were 
realised with punctuality, being enforced by the 
presence of the military establishments which were 
peremptorily employed on occasions of recalcitrance. 
We have no particulars of the administration of 
justice under de Boigne; but in later days, under 
Perron, it is known to have been considered of 
secondary importance ; no regular system of law 
was recognised, nor were there any courts for holding 
proper trials ; reports of inquiries by native magis- 
trates were sent to the General, who gave the final 
decision, awarding punishments according to his dis- 
cretion. But de Boigne was probably a safer arbi- 
trator, as he was a far abler man. His industry was 
enormous. He rose, as we are told by a European 
witness, with dawn ; surveyed his stores and factories, 
inspected his troops, transacted the civil business of 
his division, gave audience, received the reports of 
the criminal and fiscal officers, carried on diplomatic 
correspondence, and even found time to attend to his 
own private business. All this is perfectly con- 
ceivable when the chief is a man of method, who 
knows what to do himself and what to leave to 
subordinates, and to apply the controlling touch and 
maintain the motive power of the administrative 
machine. The Begam at Sirdhana was equally in- 
dustrious and not less successful. 
Another Christian ruler of almost equal ability, 

M % 

180 mAdhava rAo sindhia 

just corning into a brief prominence, was the famous 
George Thomas, who had once held a command under 
the Begam, but was now carving out a principality 
for himself out of the fiefs of the late Najaf Kuli to 
the south-west of the metropolis. 

While an approach to tranquillity was thus being 
restored to Hindustan, Sindhia remained at Poona, 
surrounded by his trained battalions and European 
satellites, endeavouring to acquire a position in the 
Deccan commensurate with his power in Hindustan ; 
but he found the situation there one of much greater 

Though not directly bearing on the story, the im- 
pression produced upon a British observer by General 
de Boigne's career may deserve to be here recorded. 
c It was not the least of the advantages arising from 
General de Boigne's merit that, in his military capa- 
city, he should have softened, by means of an admir- 
able perseverance, the ferocious and almost savage 
character of the Marathas. He submitted, to the 
discipline and to the civilisation of European armies, 
soldiers who till then had been regarded as bar- 
barians ; and to such an extent did he succeed that 
the rapacious licence which had formerly been com- 
mon amongst them came at last to be looked upon 
as infamous even by the meanest soldier' {Bengal 
Journal of the 18th of September, 1790). For this 
extract I am indebted to Colonel Malleson's inter- 
esting work already quoted. The gallant author well 
adds that : — 


1 It was de Boigne who made it possible for Sindia 
(sic) to rule in Hindostan (sic) at the same time that he 
controlled the councils of Poona. . . • It was de Boigne 
who introduced into the North -West Provinces the 
germs of that civil administration which the English 
have since successfully developed' (Final French 
Struggles, p. 189). The General retired to Europe 
soon after the death of Madhava, probably prescient 
of future trouble under his less experienced and less 
competent successor. He died at Chamberi, 1st of 
June, 1830, possessed of great wealth, of which he 
made a noble use. 

Last Days, Death, and Character 

The goals at which able men desire to arrive are 
often reached. The true disappointment of life is 
that, when reached, they are found to conceal behind 
them something sinister and unexpected. So long as 
Sindhia had remained in Hindustan he might have 
seemed to have attained the object of his life's labour. 
He had become to the Emperor what the Peshwa was 
to the descendant of Sivaji, who still wielded a toy- 
sceptre at Satara, and whose fiat was still necessary 
to fill a vacancy on the throne at Poona. Shah c Alam 
still wore the crown of Akbar in the palace of Shah 
Jahan ; but he was a blind septuagenarian with no 
voice in the disposal of events beyond the palace 
walls 1 . Elsewhere the affairs of peace and of war 
obeyed the orders of Sindhia, from the Sutlej to the 
Narbada. Yet all was insecure so long as the Deccan 
was closed to his influence and the Nana could move 
the young Peshwa to issue orders that were obeyed 
by Holkar. 

The Peshwa was Sindhia's namesake, Madhava 

1 So late as 1789 Shah c Alam put to death his kinsman Bedar 
Bakht whom Ghulam Kadir had put on his throne. 


Rao; the same whose birth had disconcerted the 
schemes of Raghuba in 1773. It may be remembered 
that his mother was the widow of one of two brothers 
who had succeeded each other in the Peshwaship 
and disappeared in a manner so favourable to the 
interests of their uncle, Raghuba ; who then, with the 
support of Governor Hornby of Bombay, assumed the 
office. The Nana was the widow's lover ; and when 
her son was born, after her husband's death, and in a 
manner so opportune for the opponents of Raghuba, 
we cannot wonder if doubts were expressed as to the 
child's paternity. So the young Chief grew up, the 
subject of suspicion, the tool of faction, and with no 
will but to obey the will of an intriguer. He had 
now grown to man's estate, and bore a semblance of 
sovereignty ; but his subsequent tragic fate serves to 
throw a lurid light upon his position. 

In Nana Farnavis he possessed an adviser who was 
to him all that Richelieu had been to Louis XIII of 
France, a custodian rather than a minister. The 
Nana was not unfriendly to Sindhia so long as their 
paths did not cross; but he was known as the 'Ma- 
ratha Machiavel ' ; and we can partly guess what that 
meant. For him, as for his august pupil, a tragic fall 
was waiting ; but while the fall of the Prince was to 
be physical, that of the preceptor was to be moral and 
political — a fall from place and power and the esteem 
of his countrymen. But these things are beyond the 
present scope of our story. All that need here be 
noted is that the Nana and the Peshwa were so closely 


connected that one seemed necessary to the other; 
and that the ability and local influence of the Brah- 
man minister appeared to Sindhia to have assumed a 
character which menaced his position and called for 
personal efforts. 

For it must always be remembered that Sindhia 
never meant to cut himself off from Poona. The roots 
of his power were in the Empire of which the Peshwa 
was the actual head ; and it was only as a branch of 
that Empire that Sindhia ruled in Hindustan. Here 
the Nana was more than his equal in every respect, 
except, indeed, the important points of courage and 
character. Sindhia had a strong faith in the mag- 
netism of his own genial nature in personal contact ; 
and he recognised the importance of using that power 
on the young Peshwa before it was too late. 

This explains the theatrical displays in the darbar- 
tent, as it accounts for the whole circumstances of 
the visit to Poona. There was to be one more battle 
before the final triumph ; but it was intended to be 
a moral struggle between two men of almost equal 
power,. one being braver, the other more unscrupulous. 

What might have been the end if the struggle 
had been confined to the ordinary fields of political 
action, and fought out to the lawful conclusion, we 
have little or no material for deciding. Sindhia was 
nearly sixty; and, though his habits were simple 
and moderate, his life had been laborious ; moreover, 
being unable, by reason of his lameness, to take much 
exercise, he had become somewhat unwholesomely 


corpulent. Against him he had not only the cool 
and crafty Brahman minister, but Holkar smarting 
from late events, and perhaps as much inflamed by 
what he had done as by what he had suffered ; for, 
after his defeat at Lakhairi, he had wasted Sindhia's 
estates in North Malwa and sacked his capital, Ujjain : 
Sindhia had exacted no penalty commensurate to these 
misdeeds ; and Takuji had to pardon, if he could, both 
the injuries that he had inflicted and those that he had 
endured. Lastly, Sindhia was coldly regarded, if not 
positively disliked, by the knot of proud but needy 
warriors of the old school, who grieved at the aban- 
donment of old Maratha ways, and grudged the favour 
and employment bestowed upon so many foreigners. 
Men of that stamp were also particularly offended by 
the adoption of Muhammadan customs and the pre- 
tended humility by which Sindhia vainly sought to 
veil his pride. 

That by such affectations as those displayed in the 
darbars of June, 1792, Sindhia imposed upon his op- 
ponents is not to be readily supposed ; but such a line 
of conduct was more likely to please — if not to blind 
— the youthful Peshwa, immature in experience of 
mankind and chafing under a somewhat austere con- 
trol. Flattered by the attentions of his distinguished 
subordinate — Sindhia had insisted on accepting in- 
vestiture from the Peshwa of the office of Deputy- 
Vicegerent — the young ruler was further won by 
Sindhia's frank, unreserved manners. He soon made 
the Patel his favourite and constant companion in 

1 86 mAdhava rAo sindhia 

those field-sports and open-air pursuits for which the 
grave and sedentary Nana was both unwilling and 
unfit. But that astute Brahman watched these doings 
with unrelaxing vigilance; and it is related that 
happening to be alone on the water with the Peshwa 
one day he took occasion to remonstrate with his 
master in the most serious terms upon his favour to 
the intruder and his growing neglect of national 
manners and usages. When all his arguments seemed 
vain, he concluded by tendering his resignation of 
office with tears. It was on hearing of this interview 
that Sindhia ordered down the additional force which 
was sent to Poona under Perron. 

But the contest was destined to a sudden end. On 
the 1 2th of February, 1794, it was announced that 
Sindhia had died of fever at a suburb of Poona called 
Wanaoli. The cause was said to be this ; but there 
is no record of previous illness. The usually well- 
informed and contemporaneous author of the Tdrikh- 
i-Muzafari gives a detailed account, according to 
which the Patel had been waylaid the evening before 
by an armed gang employed for the purpose by the 
Nana — who had certainly good reason to wish for 
his removal. It is stated, further, that Sindhia and 
his attendants made such a stout defence that the 
assailants were driven off; but the Chief sustained 
wounds of such severity as to cause his death next 
day. Such an incident was not unusual in Maratha 
politics ; many years after, the assassination of Gan- 
gadhar Shastri brought the Peshwaship to the ground. 


Grant Duff, however, makes no direct reference to the 
rumour; only remarking that 'the death of Madhoji 
was an event of great political importance, as he 
was inimical to the overgrown ascendency of the 

The same judicious authority goes on to say of 
Madhava that he was 'of a manly simplicity of 
character which led him to despise equally the 
trappings of state and the allurements of luxury.' 
It is evident that he was guided in his conduct by 
principles drawn from his own observation and judg- 
ment. Though by no means identified with the 
Conservative party, he really followed in the footsteps 
of his forefathers in being content with the substance 
of power without caring to drape himself in its robes. 
Instances of this Maratha characteristic are given by 
Sir John Malcolm in describing the manner in which 
the early chiefs of the tribe obtained some of their 
territories. Thus, to cite but one example, we may 
take the province of Malwa — so often mentioned in 
this narrative. It was, as has been already stated, 
a region wrested from the Empire by the Peshwa 
B£laji Baji Rao after the first Nizam had left it when 
he set off to possess himself of the Haidarabad country. 
It was at first, indeed, held by a Hindu Viceroy under 
an appointment frorn^ Delhi. In 1733 the Peshwa 
effected an entrance by the connivance of some of the 
inhabitants. The Court of Delhi attempted negotia- 
tions, of which the ultimate result was that the 
Peshwa consented to administer the province as a 

188 mAdhava rAo sindhia 

feudatory of the Emperor. But the actual possession 
was bjr him apportioned between Malharji Holkar and 
Ranoji Sindhia ; while a formal deed was executed in 
which the Peshwa covenanted to hold the country for 
the Crown. And the actual possessors, the two 
Chiefs above-named, pledged themselves as security 
for his fealty ; agreeing that, in case of his not con- 
ducting himself as a good and obedient Viceroy, they 
themselves would become the Peshwa's enemies. Yet 
all this did not prevent these two Chiefs from sharing 
the power and profit, as servants of the Peshwa, to 
whom they paid the surplus revenues. 

Madhava Sindhia, therefore, only acted on the 
example of his father, in purchasing the reality of 
power by a show of subordination, when he ruled 
Hindustan under the guise of a menial servant. So 
long as he grasped the substantial advantages, he was 
willing to be called the Peshwa's shoe-bearer and 
representative. But where he differed from his pre- 
decessors was in the intellectual vigour and unswerv- 
ing constancy of purpose by which he clung to his 
advantages, when once obtained, and utilised them 
for further progress. 

The point of this goes far below the surface, and 
enables us to perceive an essential peculiarity which 
Madhava Sindhia shares with $, very few great men. 
We are reminded of the occasional histrionisms of 
Oliver Cromwell and Lord Chatham, who were not 
above the production of stage effects and the use of 
theatrical properties. Yet neither of them was the 


dupe of his own performances, displayed for the behoof 
of a victorious army or a legislative chamber. We 
need not, then, think the less of Sindhia for his : he 
never forgot his real object, even in the very midst of 
his assumed humility. Nor was he of a hypocritical 
nature. If he offered to others the gauds that he him- 
self despised, he did so quite openly ; and never pre- 
tended to value those things that others were willing 
to accept as quit-rents of reality. The only mistake 
with which he can be fairly charged in this direction 
was that he seems to have somewhat underrated the 
intelligence of his public ; and he sometimes overdid 
self-effacement until what was intended to disarm 
suspicion ended by increasing its force. 

Another drawback in his character has been already 
noticed. If his natural good spirits made him active 
and buoyant in adverse fortune, they certainly led 
him to overstep the bounds of caution when all seemed 
to be going well. 

Lastly, it must be admitted that his political conduct 
was not always very scrupulous. His tergiversations, 
whenRaghuba, the Gloucester of Poona, was aiming at 
the Peshwaship, were not creditable. If the crimes of 
that unscrupulous Pretender were to be overlooked at 
all, a high-minded man would have at least been con- 
sistent in his support, and would not have withheld it 
when it was most required. Later on, Sindhia appears 
to have condoned the murder of Afrasyab Kh&n, if he 
did not cause it ; there is, at least, no record of the 
punishment of the murderer, who was well-known, 


and who took refuge in his camp. Twice he tried, in 
crooked ways, to see whether he could presume on the 
favour of the British authorities to wring from them 
the tribute of Bengal. In that demand he had a fair 
ground to go upon, and he need not have been in 
such a hurry "with his absolute, and somewhat abject, 

To say that, in estimating a man placed as Sindhia 
was, we ought to avoid applying tests furnished by 
modern European manners is to lay down the tritest 
of platitudes. Nevertheless it is sometimes useful to 
recall the recollection of such truisms ; and in this 
particular case to do so may act as a not superfluous 
caution. Indeed, even in more civilised times and 
more pretentious societies, the virtue of statesmen 
seems exposed to peculiar trials: 'Politics have a 
morality of their own/ said a German of distinction 
(Baron Beust) not many years ago ; and Abraham 
Lincoln has been a rarer type in our own day than 
Napoleon HI. Most certainly, in the India of 
Sindhia's time, men who came to the front in public 
affairs were usually either rogues or ruffians. Think 
of Ghazi-ud-din murdering his inoffensive Emperor 
and organising the plunder of his own subjects; of 
Ghulam Kadir's outrages in the Delhi palace, and 
Kaghuba's murders in his own family at Poona : yet 
these men were countenanced as long as they were 
strong, and only failed when they attempted things 
beyond their powers. Najib-ud-daula and Mirza 
Najaf Khan, indeed, were at once respectable and 


successful men ; but they were no more than the 
inevitable * exceptions that prove the rule/ Amongst 
Asiatic public men, at least, there is no other name 
that can be fairly matched with that of Madhava 
Sindhia : and even to these he was superior, alike in 
the scale of his success and in the qualities of his head 
and heart. Of this superiority, indeed, the above 
narrative, collected from many and varied sources, 
has afforded abundant proof 1 . 

Recollections gathered and recorded during the 
generation that succeeded throw a fuller light upon 
his personal character, and confirm the estimate de- 
rived from his actions. The general result is pleasing, 
if not wholly admirable. Clear in the conception of 
reasonable projects, he was bold and prudent in their 
realisation without yielding completely to the peculiar 
temptations of his place and time. In a scene of 
barbarous anarchy, when all the bonds of society 
seemed to be unloosed, he was amiable, courteous, 
and free from cruelty. Although his natural dis- 
position was tenacious to the verge of vindictiveness, 
he kept it under and gradually cured its faults. We 
have seen how, in 1772, he pressed for vengeance 
against Najib-ud-daula and the Rohillas, preferring to 
withdraw for a time from the scene of his ambitious 
projects rather than be a party to their pardon or a 
willing waiver of revenge. If we contrast his almost 

1 See list of authorities. Madhava was admired by men so 
diverse as Malcolm, Grant Duff, and de Boigne, by the depositaries 
of Maratha tradition and the writers of Muhammadan history. 


contemptuous condonation of Holkar's mischievous 
and malicious behaviour in 1792 we shall have some 
means of measuring the moral advance that he had 
made in less than a score of years. Thus we see that 
he not only overcame trials from without but trials 
from within also ; and amongst the latter must be 
reckoned a natural infirmity of temper. For, if a 
certain endurance of resentment was a quality not 
without its uses in such a career as he had adopted, 
and almost essential to an amiable honest man sur- 
rounded by rascals, yet <the unusual swiftness of 
anger by which, in this case, it was accompanied must 
have been a grievous stumbling-block. Of anger, 
as of money, it may be a general law that what is soon 
got is soon dissipated ; but here the law would not 
apply : Sindhia was easily provoked, and not easily 

But, if he seldom forgave an injury he never forgot 
a benefit: if he was severe in punishment, when 
punishment seemed requisite, he was not implacable 
or given to cause needless pain ; while, in conferring 
rewards for service rendered, his gratitude admitted 
neither stint nor oblivion. Consequently, he was 
served with fidelity and affection: and his wishes 
were consulted even when he was dead and unable 
to enforce them. It is impossible to read the memoirs 
of de Boigne without seeing how great a part of 
Sindhia's success was due to the admiration inspired 
by his moral character, and the confidence with which 
his subordinates trusted to his consistency of conduct, 


good faith, and tenacity of purpose. He was good- 
humoured, if not exactly good-tempered ; and his 
countenance, in spite of an unusually dark complexion, 
was full of amiability and intelligence ; this expres- 
sion was happily caught by a young Italian artist — 
name unrecorded — who painted Sindhia's portrait at 
Poona shortly before his death. This picture — now in 
the possession of the Eight Honourable Sir M. Grant 
Duff — is an oil-painting, about 2 ft. by ij, and is 
firmly drawn though somewhat cold in colour: it 
only shows the head and shoulders, and leaves the 
impression that the corpulence of the body could not 
have been excessive. Sindhia's manners were such 
as this portrait would suggest, frank and unaffected, 
in spite of the theatrical displays that he sometimes 
thought necessary for specific purposes. 

His personal habits were simple and abstemious. 
Better educated than was usual among men of his 
class, he was not only able to read and write, but was 
a good accountant, and had a colloquial knowledge of 
Persian and Urdu. He was versed in business, and, 
without caring for the details either of war or civil 
administration, invariably chose good agents, whom 
he trusted thoroughly, and who repaid him for his 
confidence. As in Hindustan he was thoroughly well 
served by General de Boigne, so in Central India the 
officers whom he employed at Ujjain and Gwalior — 
where he was unable, for the most part, to inspect or 
control — were not less successful in fighting his battles 
and managing his affairs. The writer of these pages 


194 mAdhava rAo sindhia 

was informed by that eminent Maratha statesman, 
the Hon. Sir Dinkar Rao, that it was a tradition in 
high Poona society, handed down from aged men who 
had known Madhava, that he was an excellent and 
indulgent master: unforgiving only towards officers 
who showed cowardice in battle. To all others 
his favour was equal, solely apportioned to merit 
without regard to creed, caste, or colour. By such a 
system men's hearts are won and great States founded ; 
especially in the East, where despotic power usually 
leads to caprice, and caprice engenders distrust, dis- 
content, bad service, and, ultimately, revolt and ruin. 
The best proof that we are not over-estimating the 
merits of Madhava Sindhia is to be found in the troubles 
which befel his successor. Dying without issue and 
without having performed any formal act of adoption, 
he left the power that he had founded to be exercised 
by the most capable of the family, designating as his 
heir a youth of fifteen. This was Daulat Eao, a son 
of his youngest nephew, Anandi Eao: and it is a 
remarkable sign of the respect and regard that had 
been inspired by the old man that this untried youth 
was instantly accepted in conformity with the great- 
uncle's orally-expressed wishes, and in despite of a 
strong opposition from the late Chief's widow. c All 
the dependents of Sindhia's family,' we are told, c and 
the other Maratha authorities, sent their congratula- 
tions; so that this youth, who had hardly attained 
his fifteenth year, became undisputed heir to the 
extensive realms of Mahadajee ' (Grant Duff, iii. 91), 


That Madhava died childless and without adopting 
a son to perform his obsequies will, to those who 
know the Hindu feeling on such subjects, appear a 
final proof of the originality of the man and of his 
superiority to the prejudices of his age and country. 
Even to this day the Hindus preserve that belief in 
the necessity of funeral rites for the repose of an 
ancestral soul which was becoming obsolete in Europe 
before the Christian era began. Hence a Hindu who 
sees himself approaching his end without heirs of his 
body, usually adopts a substitutive heir to do all that 
is considered needful for the preservation of the family 
and, still more, for the maintenance of his own per- 
sonal welfare in the world of spirits. It is only by a 
somewhat earnest consideration of this principle that 
we come to realise the independent nature of a man 
who was indifferent to his own spiritual welfare, and 
was content to leave the succession to his power by 
word of mouth, and as a trust reposed in his officers. 
Madhava, evidently enough, cared as little for the 
terrors of the next world as for the pomps of the 
world that he knew. But he instructed his people as 
to the choice of a successor ; and, when he was dead, 
the son of Anandi Rao was grafted on the main stem, 
in conformity with the indications of the deceased 
ruler, and as effectually, for all practical purposes, 
as if all the Shastris in Poona had borne part in a 
formal adoption. That the choice was not more for- 
tunate must be ascribed to the nature of the field. 

It is no part of our task to trace in detail the 

N % 

196 mAdhava rAo sindhia 

results of this : but a few of them may be profitably- 
noted in illustration of the peculiar difficulties of the 
position that we have been considering, and of the 
peculiar qualities implied in the fact that Madhava 
had overcome them. The difference which separated 
the prudent soldier, who knew his own mind and 
made his own fortune, from the vacillating youth 
bred in indulgence and attentive to obsequious fol- 
lowers, soon became apparent. Madhava, as we have 
partly seen, had always proposed to himself the 
difficult but singularly original scheme of creating a 
position, in which he should combine the delights of 
independent power with the advantages to be derived 
from continuing a member of the confederacy of which 
the Peshwa was President. To do this he found it 
necessary to rule and fight with unremitting vigour 
in Hindustan while he trimmed the diplomatic balance 
at Poona : further, contriving to stand well with the 
Nana, be respected by Holkar, and preserve the 
friendly neutrality of the British. But he abstained 
from doing violence to Maratha loyalty or drawing 
his sword in quarrels about the succession; he did 
not resist the British when he found them to be in 
earnest ; and he never drove Holkar to despair. 

But when he was dead the inheritor of his power 
proved quite unable so to manage the mighty engine. 
First, the unfortunate young Peshwa committed 
suicide, dashing himself to death as a way of escape 
from the Nanas tutelage. Then Daulat Rao took up 
the question of the succession, now on one side, now 


on the other. At last he was induced to declare for 
Baji Rao, the son of Raghuba the old Pretender ; and 
then, when Baji became Peshwa, Daulat Rao aided 
and abetted in the forcible seizure of the Nana, who 
ended his days in disgrace, if not in actual captivity. 
Then Daulat Rao proceeded to alienate public opinion 
by the ill-treatment of his predecessor's widows. 
Then he proceeded to appropriate the N ana's landed 
estate, and so provoked a quarrel with the Peshwa, 
three of whose ministers he seized and put to death. 
In regard to Holkar a like policy of implacable 
hostility was adopted by Daulat Rao, leading to 
much bloodshed and general havoc. But his most 
conspicuous folly was shown in his dealings with the 

Of that power Madhava had always entertained 
a discreet awe. Even in their lowest depression — 
before Goddard had come into the West and retrieved 
the national reputation — Madhava had appreciated 
the * majesty with which the British soldier fights/ 
After the disaster of Egerton and Carnac, Madhava 
said, in a low voice, to one of the envoys suing for 
salvation at Wadgaon : ' What soldiers yours are ! 
Their line is like a red brick wall; and when one 
falls another steps into the gap. I hope some day to 
fight on the same side ' (Grant Duff). Sir J. Malcolm, 
who relates the anecdote with some variation, says 
that he added, 'And such are the troops that I should 
like to have.' So Pyrrhus praised the valour of the 
Roman soldiers after he had beaten them at Heraclea ; 

198 mAdhava rAo sindhia 

and, like the Epirote leader, Sindhia never afterwards 
willingly quarrelled with the State which owned such 
material of war. He did his best, indeed, to imitate 
them ; yet neither he nor his able General ever exag- 
gerated the merits of the imitation. Never to quarrel 
with the British, and rather disband all his new-model 
men than engage them in a conflict with that power, 
such was the advice handed down to Daulat Rao 
through General de Boigne. But the General left 
India in 1797, and was succeeded in the command 
of the army by Perron, a Frenchman of low birth, 
narrow training, and a full share of vulgar prejudice 
against perfidious Albion. The end was swift disaster. 
Daulat Rao was, perhaps, the best successor that 
Madhava could select; but he was soon to prove 
himself unequal, intellectually as well as morally, to 
the due maintenance and employment of his uncle's 
complicated system. He posed as the swordsman of 
the Peshwa rather than as the Deputy- Vicegerent of 
the Emperor ; filling his armies with foreign mercen- 
aries and choosing incapable advisers often of the 
worst character and antecedents ; shocking public 
opinion by outrageous conduct, and alienating his 
best Maratha lieutenants. Towards the Court and 
Cabinet of Poona he was habitually insolent and 
sometimes violent; he plundered the city, confined 
or slew eminent public men, propagated feud and 
assassination in the House of Holkar, and fatally 
weakened the coherence of the whole Maratha con- 
federation. Lastly, he proceeded to extremities with 


the long-suffering East India Company, and hastened 
to wreck and ruin like an ill-steered vessel on a lee 
shore. The inferiority of his trained troops to those 
on whose pattern they were formed justified the 
forebodings of Maratha Conservatives, confirmed by 
the opinion of that wise and warlike Englishman, 
who ' clashed with his fiery few, and won ' at Asai. 
Yet, injudicious as was the provoking of that conflict, 
the illustrious critic could not have meant that 
Madhava's original introduction of discipline was 
of itself an evil ; but only that it was so if it caused 
presumption and led to an unequal collision. Had 
the Maratha armies continued the guerrilla warfare 
of their ancestors they might have given more trouble 
to the Wellesleys and to Lake,- who, it must be ad- 
mitted, were able to make short work of their 
battalions and their batteries when it came to a 
serious conflict. Nevertheless, the subsequent fate 
of the Pindaris — who adopted the old Maratha 
sfrategy — serves to show that in any case the British 
must have ultimately prevailed. Nothing could well 
have seemed more formidable, in its way, than the com- 
bination that awaited Lord Moira in 1815. He had 
sent four columns to the northward to attack Nepal, 
and three of them had ignominiously failed. The 
Court of Directors had sent out stringent orders for- 
bidding him ' to engage in plans of offensive operations 
against the Pindarees, either with a view to their 
extirpation or in anticipation of expected danger.' 
His designs were opposed by the most experienced 

200 mAdhava rAo sindhia 

members of his Council. Daulat Rao Sindhia was 
hostile, and occupying Central India, in alliance with 
the Rajd, of Nagpur, and at the head of 60,000 men. 
Baji Rao adopted a threatening attitude, and was 
known to be encouraging the enemy. At the dasahra 
of 1 8 15 the largest body of Pindaris took the field 
that had ever been assembled. A body of 8000 of 
them crossed the Narbada and devastated the Nizam's 
territories as far south as the Krishna river. A large 
division poured down on the British districts of the 
Northern Sirkars, and sacked the civil station of 
Gantur, laying waste the surrounding country : the 
loss of life was considerable, the loss of property was 
reckoned at twenty -five Idkhs of rupees. The agents 
of the Pindari Chiefs openly boasted, in Sindhia's 
darbar, that they would send 50,000 men to carry fire 
and sword to Calcutta. Their total number was 
estimated at nearly 100,000: the scene of action 
extended from the Ganges to the Krishna, and from 
Cawnpur to Gujarat. To add to the anxieties of the 
time cholera broke out in the camps of the British 
and caused a loss — including camp-followers — of 
20,000 men. Baji Rao took the field with 18,000 
soldiers and attacked the British Resident at Poona ; 
the Raja of Nagpur followed his example: in the 
middle of October, 1817, the joint forces of the enemy 
amounted to more than 150,000 horse and foot, with 
500 pieces of artillery. 

All these perils were dispersed in four months : the 
power of Daulat Rao was isolated by able manoeuvres ; 


the army of Holkar had ceased to exist ; the Peshwa, 
Baji Kao, was a fugitive ; the Pindari leaders had been 
abandoned by their followers and had been forced to 
surrender, or had perished in their own jungles. 

It is therefore evident that no species of native 
warfare was proof against European resources, and 
that Madhava Sindhia had made no mistake in 
founding his ambitious schemes on a force of regular 
troops, disciplined and commanded by European 
officers: matched against the old Asiatic systems 
of warfare he had completely succeeded. The mis- 
take was that of his heir in thinking that this 
necessarily second-class army could prevail over the 
first-class army on which it was modelled. The 
same mistake was afterwards made by the Sikhs; 
and, though made with every advantage of material 
and men, ended, after a hard-fought struggle, in the 
like result. 

After all, the great question for modern readers is, 
What, intentionally and unintentionally, did Madhava 
Sindhia do ; and what was the ultimate bearing of the 
events that we have been tracing on the progress of 
the British Empire in India ? We have seen that the 
circumstances which led to the Treaty of Salbai 
established in Madhava's mind a permanent respect 
for the military qualities of the British. Of their 
diplomatic abilities he entertained a lower opinion, 
even when represented by Warren Hastings. A sin- 
gular instance of this is related by Grant Duff. 
Hastings was known, about that time, to be con- 

203 mAdhava rAo sindhia 

templating the despatch of a Mr. Malet, as an envoy 
to the Court of the Peshwd at Poona ; and Madhava's 
objection is worthy of attention. He used no threats, 
nor did he treat the proposal to treat direct with his 
suzerain as a menace on the part of the British Govern- 
ment. Yet he was strongly opposed to what he con- 
sidered as a dangerous interference. He therefore 
represented that the mission was^ unnecessary, for 
the curious reason that he, Sindhia, was the true 
representative of British interests with the Maratha 
confederacy. The plea was rejected; but it is suf- 
ficiently remarkable that it should have been seriously 
urged. He was, in fact, much employed and trusted 
in the negotiations ; and the profit that he was enabled 
to derive from them made of the resulting treaty the 
opportunity which led to the assurance of his power 
in Hindustan. 

After he had surmounted all his difficulties, and 
when, in 1789, he finally became at once the master 
of the Empire and the umpire in Maratha politics, 
he had a real influence on British progress. If it 
cannot be positively said that he restrained the Nana 
and Holkar from attacking the British and their 
allies, he at least found them occupation. When 
Lord Cornwallis was being drawn into war with 
Tipii, in 1790, Sindhia abstained from forming any 
combination against him, and proffered assistance 
which was, somewhat ungraciously, declined. Indeed, 
it is plain that his power and influence were always 
regarded with anxiety. The records of the Supreme 


Government of those days abound in signs of watchful 
suspicion. In the opinion of Grant Duff— and there 
is no better authority — that attitude was without 
just cause. 

We must therefore conclude our study by a word 
of just acknowledgment. Alike by what he did and 
by what he refrained from doing, by his conquests in 
war and by his administration in peace, Madhava 
Sindhia approved himself a wise and useful ruler: 
and he was both a precursor and a factor in the 
establishment of a rule stronger and more beneficent 
than his own. 


'Adil Shah i, dynasty, 12, 14, 

Administration, Indian, in 1 8th 
century, 177. 

Aprasyab Khan, his assassin- 
ation, 101. 

Ah alt a Bai , 52, 69 : good govern- 
ment of, 164. 

Ahasuerus, a type of Eastern 
monarchs, 26. 

Ahdis, Mughal cadets so called, 

2 5. 
Ahmadnagar, conquered, 14, 19. 
Ahmad Shah, Abdali, invades 

Hindustan, 31, 38, 55. 
Ajmere, described, 155. 
'Alamgir (the Emp. Aurangzeb), 

his errors, 13. 
*Ali Gauhar (the Emp. Shall 

'Alam), 33. 
Amara (Amirs), 24. 
Anarchy in Hindustan, 34. 
Asaf Jah, the first Nizam, 28. 

BXji Kao I, 29. 

Balaji (Peshwa) goes to relieve 
the Bh£o, 48 : his death, 49. 

Balaji Viswanath, 29. 

Bernier, his description of Em- 
pire, 22. 

Bijapur, State, 12, 14. 

Boigne, Gen. de, engaged by 
MaMhava, 108 : remodels army, 
149 : wins battles, 153-7 : 
importance of services, 180. 

Bombay, Government adopts cause 
of Raghuba, 67, 74 : defeated 
by Mcldhava, 75. 

Calcutta, threatened in 1751, 

31 : in 1815, 200. 
Central India, 17: Madhava 

founds State there, 54. 

Dattaji (Sindhia), attacks Af- 
ghans and is killed, 34. 

Deccan, the origin of name, 18 

subdued by Mughals, 19 

\ Nizam's State founded, 28 
disputes in, 35. 

Empire, the Mughal, its palmy 
state, 20. 

Famine, severe in 1784 (the 
Chalisa), 96. 

Ghazi-UD-din, makes and un- 
makes Emperors, 31 : flies from 
Delhi, 33. 

Ghulam Kadir Khan, succeeds 
Z^bita Kh£n, 125: joins Ismail 
Beg at Agra, 128: in power at 
Delhi, 133 ; his excesses in the 
palace, 134-40: death, 141-2. 

Goddard, Gen., crosses Narbada 

(1779), 76. 
Gwalior, taken by Major Popham, 


Hastings, W., negotiates with 
Madhava, 81 : explains position 
of affairs to Madhava, 83. 

Holkar. See Malhar and Takuj! . 

Ibrah!m Gardi, 37 : killed, 44. 
India, three regions of, 16. 



IsmAil Beg, deserts at Lalsot, 
124 : beaten by M;tdhava, 130 : 
defeated at P.-Ctan, 153: cap- 
tured at Kanaund, 169. 

Jagir, denned, 119. 

J ats, their origin, 54 : submit to 
Mar£th£s, 54. 

Jawan Bakht, Crown Prince, re- 
ferred by British Government to 
Madhava, 117: letter by King 
George III, 129 : death, 129. 

Keating, Col., defeat of Mar^thas 

by, 70- 
Kechi, a Rajput clan, 113. 

Lalsot, battle of three days at, 

Madhava Rao I, 49. 

Madhava Rao II, 184. 

Madhata Sindhia, his place in 
history, 15 : accompanies his 
uncle to Hindustan (1760), 36 : 
escapes from field of Panfpat, 
44 : refusal to be reconciled to 
Pathans, 59 : expels Rohillas 
from Doal), 60 : acts as umpire 
at Poona, 74 : forces Carnac to 
surrender at Wadgaon, 76 : 
releases Raghuba, 79 : refuses 
to negotiate and marches on 
Baroda, 77 : releases British 
hostages, but opposes Warren 
Hastings, 78 : inclines to peace, 
81 : defeated by Carnac and 
Bruce, 81 : signs Treaty of 
Salb^i, 82 : takes up Delhi 
affairs, 97~9 : consolidates 
power in Hindustan, 102-5 : 
attempts to claim tribute from 
British, 106 : engages de Boigne, 
108: withdraws claim to tribute, 
no : defeated by Ghulam K^dir 
and Ismail Beg, 128 : his grand 
attack on the Raj put confederacy, 
152: augments army, 160: offer 
of alliance declined by British, 
161 : determines to appear at 
Poona, 163 : arrives there, 165 : 

scenes in darbar-tent, 166: se- 
cond unsuccessful claim to tri- 
bute, 172 : last days at Poona, 
182-6 : death, 186 : character, 
and general remarks, 188-203. 

Maharashtra, ancient province 
of, 11. 

MALHARjf, or Malhar Rao, Hoi- 
kar, 30: his death, 52. 

Malwa, conquest of, 30, 50 : di- 
vided, 187-8. 

Marathas, their general policy, 
1 1 , &c. : defeat of, at Panfpat, 43 : 
change in their system, 35, 56. 

Mirza Shafi', 96. 

Mughals, their Empire, 18, 20. 

Muhammad Beg, shoots Mfrza* 
Shafi', 96. 

Najae Khan, 63 : expelled from 
Court, 66 : reinstated, 88 : death 
of (1782), 96. 

NajIb Khan (Najfb-ud-dauld), 
supreme in Hindustan, 47: 
death of, 60. 

NajIbabad, a stronghold of Z^bita 
Khan, 63. 

Nana Farnavis, at Panfpat, 43 : 
controls affairs at Poona, 72 : 
temporary retirement, 74: grudg- 
ing support, 1 24 : open rivalry, 
186: his final overthrow and 
ruin, 197. 

Nizam, origin of his power, 28. 

PInIpat, defeat of Mar£th£s, 40 : 
importance of the campaign, 45. 

Peshwa, Marsha" President, so 
called, 29. 

Prathi Nidhi, a Marsha" official, 

Purandhar, Treaty of, 72. 

Baghugarh, 113: taken by Mu- 
hammad Beg, 121. 

Rana Khan, saves life of Ma- 
dhava, 5 1 : becomes a general, and 
commands against the Rajputs, 
121, 123: defeated at Chaks^na 
128 : joins Ismail Beg against 
Ghulam Kadir, 140* 



RanojI Sindhia (M^dhava's 
father), 30, 50. 

Rohilkhand, in 1770, 60: mort- 
gage of, foreclosed by Shuj£-ud- 
daula\ 90. 

Rughnath Rao (Raghuba), Re- 
gent at Poona, 53 : assumes 
office of Peshw^, 6j : makes 
alliance with the Bombay Go- 
vernment, 68 : British support of, 
73 : surrenders to M^dhava, 74 : 
by whom he is released, *j6. 

Salbai, Treaty of, concluded, &2. 

Shah, returns to Delhi, 62 : blind- 
ed by Ghul£m K£dir, 138: his 
psalm, 145. 

Shahji Bhonsla, 14. 

Sheodasheo, Rio Bhao, invades 
Hindustan, 36 : death, and cre- 
mation of, 44. 

Shuja-ud-daula, at Panfpat, 43 : 
treaty with Rohillas, 45 : con- 
quers Rohillas and dies, 92. 

Sikh power, 47. 

Sindhia. See Madhava Ra\>. 
Sombre dies, succeeded by his 

Begam, 95. 
Sura j Mall, leader of J£ts, 37. 

Takuji Holkar, conducts nego- 
tiations with Shall, 58 : granted 
a share in Mar^tha* conquests, 
113: invades Madhava's terri- 
tories, 169: defeatedatLakhairi, 

Upton (Col.), sent to negotiate 
with Poona, 71. 

Visaji Krishn, leads army to 
Hindustan, 53. 

Wadgaon, convention of, 76. 

Zabita Khan, son of Najfb-ud- 
daula^ succeeds to his father's 
estates, 60 : makes war upon 
the Mar^thas, 62 : intrigues of, 
death, 125. 

the end. 








Edited by Sir W. W. Hunter, K.C.S.I., M.A., LL.D. 

The following 27 volumes have been already published : — 

by Sir William Wilson Hunter, K.C.S.I. Twenty-second 
Edition; 84th thousand. Price 3*. 6d. 
II. AKBAR : and the Rise of the Mughal Empire, by Colonel 
Malleson, C.S.I., Author of A History of the Indian Mutiny; 
The History of Afghanistan. Fifth thousand. 2 s. 6d. 
III. ALBUQUERQUE : and the Early Portuguese Settlements in 
India, by H. Morse Stephens, Esq., M.A., Balliol College, 
Professor of Modern History at Cornell University. 23. 6d\ 
IV. AURANGZfB: and the Decay of the Mughal Empire, by 
Stanley Lane Poole, Esq., M.A., Professor of Arabic at 
Trinity College, Dublin. 2s. 6d. 
V. MADHAVA RAO SINDHIA : and the Hindii Reconquest of 
India, by H. G. Keene, Esq., M.A., C.I.E., Author of The 
Moghul Empire, dec. 2s. 6d. 
VI. LORD CLIVE : and the Establishment of the English in India, 

by Colonel Malleson, C.S.I. 23. 6d. 
VII. DUPLEIX : and the Struggle for India by the European 
Nations, by Colonel Malleson, C.S.I., Author of The 
History of the French in India, &c. Fourth thousand. 2s. 6d. 
VIII. WARREN HASTINGS: and the Founding of the British 
Administration, by Captain L. J. Trotter, Author of India 
under Victoria, &c. Fifth thousand. 28. 6d. 
IX. THE MARQUESS CORNWALLIS : and the Consolida- 
tion of British Rule, by W. S. Seton-Karr, Esq., sometime 
Foreign Secretary to the Government of India, Author of 
Selections from the Calcutta Gazettes, 3 vols. (1 784-1 805). 
Third thousand. 2s. 6d. 
X. HAIDAR A Lt AND TIPti SULTAN : and the Struggle with 
the Muhammadan Powers of the South, by Lewin Bentham 
Bowring, Esq., C.S.I., sometime Private Secretary to the 
Viceroy (Lord Canning) and Chief Commissioner of Mysore, 
Author of Eastern Experiences. 28. 6d. 
XI. THE MARQUESS WELLES LEY : and the Development of 
the Company into the Supreme Power in India, by the Rev. 
W. H. Hutton, M.A., Fellow and Tutor of St. John's 
College, Oxford. 2s. 6d. 
XII. THE MARQUESS OF HASTINGS: and the Final Overthrow 
of the Mardthd Power, by Major Boss op Bladensburo, 
C.B., Coldstream Guards; F.R.G.S. 2*. 6d. 

Rulers of Tndta Series (continued). 

South-Western India, by J. S. Cotton, Esq., M.A., formerly 
Fellow of Queen's College, Oxford, Author of The Decennial 
Statement of the Moral and Material Progress and Condition 
of India, presented to Parliament (1885), &c. 2s. 6d. 

XIV. SIR THOMAS MUNRO : and the British Settlement of the 
Madras Presidency, by John BRADSHAW,Esq., M.A., LL.D., 
formerly Inspector of Schools, Madras. 28. 6d. 
XV. EARL AMHERST: and the British Advance eastwards 
to Burma, chiefly from unpublished papers of the Amherst 
family, by Mrs. Anne Thackeray Ritchie, Author of 
Old Kensington, &c, and Richardson Evans, Esq. 2*. 6d. 
XVI. LORD WILLIAM BENTINCK: and the Company as a 
Governing and Non-trading Power, by Demetrius Boulger, 
Esq., Author of England and Russia in Central Asia ; The 
History of China, &c. 2s. 6d. 

XVII. EARL OF AUCKLAND: and the First Afghan War, by 

Captn. L. J. Trotter, Author of India under Victoria. 28. 6d. 

XVIII. VIS CO UNT HARDIN GE : and the Advance of the British 

Dominions into the Punjab, by his Son and Private Secretary, 

the Right Hon. Viscount Hardinge. Third thousand. 2*. 6d. 

XIX. RAN JIT SINGH: and the Sikh Barrier between our Growing 
Empire and Central Asia, by Sib Lepel Griffin, K.C.S.I., 
Author of The Punjab Chiefs, &c. Third thousand. 28. 6d. 
XX. JOHN R US SELL COL TIN: the last Lieutenant-Governor 
of the North-Western Provinces under the Company, by his 
son, Sir Auckland Colvin, K.C.S.I.,late Lieutenant-Governor 
of the North-Western Provinces. 2s. 6d. 
Development of the Company's Rule, by Sir William Wilson 
Hunter, K.C.S.I., M.A. Seventh thousand. 2*. 6d. 

XXII. CLYDE AND STRATHNAIRN : and the Suppression of 
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XX1II.EARL CANNING: and the Transfer of India from the 
Company to the Crown, by Sir Henry S. Cunningham, 
K.C.I. E., M.A., Author of British India and its Ruler's, &c. 
Third thousand. 28. 6d. 

XXIV. LORD LA WRENCE : and the Reconstruction of India under 
the Crown, by Sir Charles Umpherston Aitohison, K.C.S.I., 
LL.D., formerly Foreign Secretary to the Government of India, 
and Lieutenant-Governor of the Punjab. Fourth thousand. 2«.6d. 

XXV. THE EARL OF MAYO: and the Consolidation of the 
Queen's Rule in India, by Sir William Wilson Hunter, 
K.C.S.I., M.A., LL.D. Third thousand. 29. 6d. 

Supplementaby Volumes. 

XXVI. JAMES THOMASON: and the British Settlement of North- 

Western India, by Sib Richard Temple, Bart., formerly 
Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal, and Governor of Bombay. 
Price -is. 6d. ~~- 

XXVII. SIR HENRY LA WRENCE : The Pacificator. By Lieut.- 

General J. J. M c Leod Innes, R.E., V.C. Price $s. 6d. 

The Clarendon Press History of India, 3s. 6d. 


Standard Edition (Twenty-second), revised to 1895. 
Eighty-fourth Thousand. 

This Edition incorporates the suggestions received by the author 
from Directors of Public Instruction and other educational authorities 
in India; its statistics are brought down to the Census of 1891 ; and 
its narrative to 1892. The work has received the emphatic approval 
of the organ of the English School Boards, and has been translated 
into five languages. It is largely employed for educational purposes in 
Europe and America and as a text-book prescribed by the University 
of Calcutta for its Entrance Examination from 1886 to 1891. 

1 "A Brief History of the Indian Peoples," by W. W. Hunter, pre- 
sents a sort of bird's-eye view both of India and of its people from the 
earliest dawn of historical records. ... A work of authority and of 
original value.' — The Daily News (London). 

1 Dr. Hunter maybe said to have presented a compact epitome of the 
results of his researches into the early history of India ; a subject upon 
which his knowledge is at once exceptionally wide and exceedingly 
thorough/ — The Scotsman. 

* Within the compass of some 250 pages we know of no history of the 
people of India so concise, so interesting, and so useful for educational 
purposes as this.' — The School Board Chronicle (London). 

* For its size and subject there is not a better written or more trust- 
worthy history in existence.' — The Journal of Education. 

1 So thoroughly revised as to entitle it to separate notice/ — The Times. 

1 Dr. Hunter's history, if brief, is comprehensive. It is a storehouse 
of facts marshalled in a masterly style ; and presented, as history 
should be, without the slightest suspicion of prejudice or suggestion of 
partisanship. Dr. Hunter observes a style of severe simplicity, which 
is the secret of an impressive presentation of details/ — The Daily 
'Review (Edinburgh). 

1 By far the best manual of Indian History that has hitherto been 
published, and quite equal to any of the Historical Series for Schools 
edited by Dr. Freeman. We trust that it will soon be read in all the 
schools in this Presidency.' — The Times of India. 

Extract from a criticism by Edward Giles, Esq., Inspector of Schools, 
Northern Division, Bombay Presidency: — * What we require is a 
book which shall be accurate as to facts, but not overloaded with 
them ; written in a style which shall interest, attract, and guide un- 
cultivated readers ; and short, because it must be sold at a reasonable 
price. These conditions have never, in my opinion, beeji realized 
previous to the introduction of this book/ 

* The publication of the Hon. W. W. Hunter's " School History of 
India " is an event in literary history/ — Beis & Bayyet (Calcutta). 

' He has succeeded in writing a history of India, not only in such a 
way that it will be read, but also in a way which we hope will lead 
young Englishmen and young natives of India to think more kindly 
of each other. The Calcutta University has done wisely in prescribing 
this brief history as a text-book for the Entrance Examination/ — The 
Hindoo Patriot (Calcutta). 


f>pimon0 of tbe Press 



Fourth Edition. Seventh Thousand. 

1 An interesting and exceedingly readable volume Sir William 

Hunter has produced a valuable work about an important epoch in 
English history in India, and he has given us a pleasing insight into 
the character of a remarkable Englishman. The " Rulers of India" 
series, which he has initiated, thus makes a successful beginning in his 
hands with one who ranks among the greatest of the great names which 
will be associated with the subject.' — The Times. 

* To no one is the credit for the improved condition of public intelli- 
gence [regarding India] more due than to Sir William Hunter. From 
the beginning of his career as an Indian Civilian he has devoted a rare 
literary faculty to the task of enlightening his countrymen on the subject 
of England's greatest dependency. . . . By inspiring a small army of 
fellow -labourers with his own spirit, by inducing them to conform to his 
own method, and shaping a huge agglomeration of facts into a lucid and 
intelligible system, Sir W. Hunter has brought India and its innumer- 
able interests within the pale of achievable knowledge, and has given 
definite shape to the truths which its history establishes and the 
problems which it suggests. . . . Such contributions to literature are apt to 
be taken as a matter of course, because their highest merit is to conceal 
the labour, and skill, and knowledge involved in their production ; but 
they raise the whole level of public intelligence, and generate an 
atmosphere in which the baleful influences of folly, ignorance, prejudice, 
and presumption dwindle and disappear.' — Saturday 'Review. 

'Admirably calculated to impart in a concise and agreeable form a clear 
general outline of the history of our great Indian Empire.' — Economist. 

' A skilful and most attractive picture. . . . The author has made good 
use of public and private documents, and has enjoyed the privilege of 
being aided by the deceased statesman's family. His little work is, 
consequently, a valuable contribution to modern history.' — Academy. 

' The book should command a wide circle of readers, not only for its 
author's sake and that of its subject, but partly at least. on account of 
the very attractive way in which it has been published at the moderate 
price of half-a-crown. But it is, of course, by its intrinsic merits alone 
that a work of this nature should be judged. And those merits are 
everywhere conspicuous. ... A writer whose thorough mastery of all 
Indian subjects has been acquired by years of practical experience and 
patient research.'— The Athenceum. 

' Never have we been so much impressed by the great literary abilities 
of Sir William Hunter as we have been by the perusal of "The Marquess 
of Dalhousie." . . . The knowledge displayed by the writer of the motives 
of Lord Dalhousie's action, of the inner working of his mind, is so com- 
plete, that Lord Dalhousie himself, were he living, could not state them 
more clearly. . . . Sir William Hunter's style is so clear, his language 
so vivid, and yet so simple, conveying the impressions he wishes so per- 
spicuously that they cannot but be understood, that the work must have 
a place in every library, in every home, we might say indeed every 
cottage.' — Evening News. 

* Sir William Hunter has written an admirable little volume on 
" The Marquess of Dalhousie " for his series of the " Rulers of India." 
It can be read at a sitting, yet its references — expressed or implied — 
suggest the study and observation of half a life-time.' — The Daily News. 

©pinions of tfce Press 



Second Edition. Third Thousand. 

' Sir William W. Hunter has contributed a brief but admirable 
biography of the Earl of Mayo to the series entitled " Rulers of India/' 
edited by himself (Oxford, at the Clarendon Press).'— The Times. 

1 In telling this story in the monograph before us, Sir William 
Hunter has combined his well-known literary skill with an earnest 
sympathy and fulness of knowledge which are worthy of all commenda- 
tion. . . . The world is indebted to the author for a fit and attractive 
record of what was eminently a noble life.' — The Academy. 

1 The sketch of The Man is full of interest, drawn as it is with com- 
plete sympathy, understanding, and appreciation. But more valuable 
is the account of his administration. No one can show so well and 
clearly as Sir William Hunter does what the policy of Lord Mayo con- 
tributed to the making of the Indian Empire of to-day.' — The Scotsman, 

1 Sir William Hunter has given us a monograph in which there is a 
happy combination of the essay and the biography. We are presented 
with the main features of Lord Mayo's administration unencumbered 
with tedious details which would interest none but the most official of 
Anglo-Indians ; while in the biography the man is brought before us, 
not analytically, but in a life-like portrait.' — Vanity Fair. 

' The story of his life Sir W. W. Hunter tells in well-chosen language 
— clear, succinct, and manly. Sir W. W. Hunter is in sympathy with 
his subject, and does full justice to Mayo's strong, genuine nature. 
Without exaggeration and in a direct, unaffected style, as befits his 
theme, he brings the man and his work vividly before us.' — The 
Glasgow Herald. 

1 All the knowledge acquired by personal association, familiarity with 
administrative details of the Indian Government, and a strong grasp of 
the vast problems to be dealt with, is utilised in this presentation of 
Lord Mayo's personality and career. Sir W. Hunter, however, never 
overloads his pages, and the outlines of the sketch are clear and firm/ 
— The Manchester Express. 

* This is another of the " Rulers of India " series, and it will be hard 
to beat. . . . Sir William Hunter's perception and expression are here at 
their very best.' — The Pall Mall Gazette. 

'The latest addition to the "Rulers of India" series yields to none of 
its predecessors in attractiveness, vigour, and artistic portraiture. . . . 
The final chapter must either be copied verbally and literally — which 
the space at our disposal will not permit — or be left to the sorrowful 
perusal of the reader. The man is not to be envied who can read it with 
dry eyes.' — Allen's Indian Mail. 

1 The little volume which has just been brought out is a study of Lord 
Mayo's career by one who knew all about it and was in full sympathy 
with it. . . . Some of these chapters are full of spirit and fire. The 
closing passages, the picture of the Viceroy's assassination, cannot fail 
to make any reader hold his breath. We know what is going to 
happen, but we are thrilled as if we did not know it, and were still 
held in suspense. The event itself was so terribly tragic that any 
ordinary description might seem feeble and laggard. But in this 
volume we are made to feel as we must have felt if we had been on 
the spot and seen the murderer " fastened like a tiger " on the back of 
the Viceroy.' — Daily News, Leading Article. 

P % 

Dpinions of t&e Press 



Third Edition. Fourth Thousand. 

'This new volume of the "Rulers of India " series keeps up to the 
high standard set by the author of " The Marquess of Dalhousie." For 
dealing with the salient passages in Lord Cornwallis's Indian career no 
one could have been better qualified than the whilom foreign secretary 
to Lord Lawrence.' — The Athenaeum. 

1 We hope that the volumes on the " Rulers of India " which are 
being published by the Clarendon Press are carefully read by a large 
section of the public. There is a dense wall of ignorance still standing 
between the average Englishman and the greatest dependency of the 
Crown ; although we can scarcely hope to see it broken down altogether, 
some of these admirable biographies cannot fail to lower it a little. . . . 
Mr. Seton-Karr has succeeded in the task, and he has not only pre- 
sented a large mass of information, but he has brought it together in an 
attractive form. . . . We strongly recommend the book to all who wish 
to enlarge the area of their knowledge with reference to India.' — New 
York Herald, 

' We have already expressed our sense of the value and timeliness of 
the series of Indian historical retrospects now issuing, under the editor- 
ship of Sir W. W. Hunter, from the Clarendon Press. It is somewhat 
less than fair to say of Mr. Seton-Karr's monograph upon Cornwallis 
that it reaches the high standard of literary workmanship which that 
series has maintained.' — The Literary World, 


* The story of the Burmese War, its causes and its issues, is re-told 
with excellent clearness and directness/ — Saturday Review. 

'Perhaps the brightest volume in the valuable series to which it 
belongs. . . . The chapter on " The English in India in Lord Amherst's 
Governor-Generalship " should be studied by those who wish to under- 
stand how the country was governed in 1824/ — Quarterly Review. 

' There are some charming pictures of social life, and the whole book 
is good reading, and is a record of patience, skill and daring. The 
public should read it, that it may be chary of destroying what has been 
so toilsomely and bravely acquired.' — National Observer, 

'The book wiU be ranked among the best in the series, both on 
account of the literary skill shown in its composition and by reason of 
the exceptional interest of the material to which the authors have had 
access.' — St. James's Gazette, 

©piniong of t&e Press 



Second Edition. Third Thousand. 

' There is no period in Eastern history so full of sensation as the 
reign of Aurangzlb. . . . Mr. Lane-Poole tells this story admirably ; 
indeed, it were difficult to imagine it better told.' — National Observer. 

1 Mr. Lane-Poole writes learnedly, lucidly, and vigorously. . . . He 
draws an extremely vivid picture of Aurangzfb, his strange ascetic 
character, his intrepid courage, his remorseless overthrow of his 
kinsmen, his brilliant court, and his disastrous policy ; and he describes 
the gradual decline of the Mogul power from Akbar to Aurangzlb 
with genuine historical insight.' — Times. 

' A well-knit and capable sketch of one of the most remarkable, 
perhaps the most interesting, of theMogulEmperors.' — Saturday Review. 

' As a study of the man himself, Mr. Lane-Poole's work is marked 
by a vigour and originality of thought which give it a very exceptional 
value among works on the subject.' — Glasgow Herald. 

*■ The most popular and most picturesque account that has yet 
appeared ... a picture of much clearness and force.'- — Globe. 

' A notable sketch, at once scholarly and interesting.' — English Mail. 

' No one is better qualified than Mr. Stanley Lane-Poole to take up 
the history and to depict the character of the last of the great Mogul 
monarchs. . . . Aurangzlb 's career is ever a fascinating study.' — 
Home News. 

' The author gives a description of the famous city of Shah Jah£n, its 
palaces, and the ceremonies and pageants of which they were the scene. 
. . . Mr. Lane-Poole's well-written monograph presents all the most dis- 
tinctive features of Aurangzib's character and career.' — -Morning Post. 


' Major Ross of Bladensburg treats his subject skilfully and attrac- 
tively, and his biography of Lord Hastings worthily sustains the high 
reputation of the Series in which it appears.' — The Times. 

' This monograph is entitled to rank with the best of the Series, the 
compiler having dealt capably and even brilliantly with his materials.* 
— English Mail. 

1 Instinct with interest.' — Glasgow Evening News. 

1 As readable as it is instructive.' — Globe. 

1 A truly admirable monograph.' — Glasgow Herald. 

1 Major Ross has done his work admirably, and bids fair to be one of 
the best writers the Army of our day has given to the country. ... A 
most acceptable and entrancing little volume.' — Daily Chronicle. 

'It is a volume that merits the highest praise. Major Ross of 
Bladensburg has represented Lord Hastings and his work in India 
in the right light, faithfully described the country as it was, and in 
a masterly manner makes one realize how important was the period 
covered by this volume.' — Manchester Courier. 

1 This excellent monograph ought not to be overlooked by any one 
who would fully learn the history of British rule in India.' — Manchester 

©pinions of tbe Press 



Third Edition. Fifth Thousand. 
4 In the character of Dupleix there was the element of greatness 
that contact with India seems to have generated in so many European 
minds, French as well as English, and a broad capacity for govern- 
ment, which, if suffered to have full play, might have ended in giving 
the whole of Southern India to France. Even as it was, Colonel 
Malleson shows how narrowly the prize slipped from French grasp. 
In 1783 the Treaty of Versailles arrived just in time to save the 
British power from extinction.' — Times. 

* One of the best of Sir W. Hunter's interesting and valuable series. 
Colonel Malleson writes out of the fulness of familiarity, moving with 
ease over a field which he had long ago surveyed in every nook and 
corner. To do a small book as well as this on Dupleix has been done, 
will be recognised by competent judges as no small achievement. 
When one considers the bulk of the material out of which the little 
volume has been distilled, one can still better appreciate the labour 
and dexterity involved in the performance.' — Academy. 

* A most compact and effective history of the French in India in a 
little handbook of 180 pages.' — Nonconformist, 

1 Well arranged, lucid and eminently readable, an excellent addition 
to a most useful series.' — Record. 


Fourth Edition. Fifth Thousand. 
' Colonel Malleson's interesting monograph on Akbar in the "Rulers 
of India" (Clarendon Press) should more than satisfy the general' 
reader. Colonel Malleson traces the origin and foundation of the 
Mughal Empire ; and, as an introduction to the history of Muhamma- 
dan India, the book leaves nothing to be desired.' — St. James's Gazette. 

'This volume will, no doubt, be welcomed, even by experts in 
Indian history, in the light of a new, clear, and terse rendering of an 
old, but not worn-out theme. It is a worthy and valuable addition 
to Sir W. Hunter's promising series.' — Athenaeum. 

* Colonel Malleson has broken ground new to the general reader. 
The story of Akbar is briefly but clearly told, with an account of what 
he was and what he did, and how he found and how he left India. . . . 
The native chronicles of the reign are many, and from them it is still 
possible, as Colonel Malleson has shown, to construct a living portrait 
of this great and mighty potentate.' — Scots Observer. 

* The brilliant historian of the Indian Mutiny has been assigned in 
this volume of the series an important epoch and a strong personality 
for critical study, and he has admirably fulfilled his task. . . . Alike in 
dress and style, this volume is a fit companion for its predecessor.'— 
Manchester Guardian. 

©piniona of t&e Press 



Fourth Edition. Fifth Thousand. 

1 The publication, recently noticed in this place, of the " Letters, 
Despatches, and other State Papers preserved in the Foreign Depart- 
ment of the Government of India, 177 2-1 785," has thrown entirely new- 
light from the most authentic sources on the whole history of Warren 
Hastings and his government of India. Captain L. J. Trotter's 
Warren Hastings is accordingly neither inopportune nor devoid of an 
adequate raison oVUre. Captain Trotter is well known as a competent 
and attractive writer on Indian history, and this is not the first time 
that Warren Hastings has supplied him with a theme.' — The Times. 

1 He has put his best work into this memoir. . . . His work is of 
distinct literary merit, and is worthy of a theme than which British 
history presents none nobler. It is a distinct gain to the British race 
to be enabled, as it now may, to count the great Governor-General 
among those heroes for whom it need not blush.' — Scotsman. 

' Captain Trotter has done his work well, and his volume deserves 
to stand with that on Dalhousie by Sir William Hunter. Higher 
praise it would be hard to give it.' — New York Herald. 

1 Captain Trotter has done full justice to the fascinating story of the 
splendid achievements of a great Englishman.' — Manchester Guardian, 

i A brief but admirable biography of the first Governor-General of 
India/ — Newcastle Chronicle. 

' A book which all must peruse who desire to be " up to date n on 
the subject.' — The Globe. 


Second Edition. Third Thousand. 
1 Mr. Keene has the enormous advantage, not enjoyed by every 
producer of a book, of knowing intimately the topic he has taken up. 
He has compressed into these 203 pages an immense amount of informa- 
tion, drawn from the best sources, and presented with much neatness and 
effect.' — The Globe. 

* Mr. Keene tells the story with knowledge and impartiality , and also 
with sufficient graphic power to make it thoroughly readable. The 
recognition of Sindhia in the "Rulers" series is just and graceful, 
and it cannot fail to give satisfaction to the educated classes of our 
Indian fellow-subjects.' — North British Daily Mail. 

* The volume bears incontestable proofs of the expenditure of con- 
siderable research by the author, and sustains the reputation he had 
already acquired by his "Sketch of the History of Hindustan."' — 
Freeman s Journal. 

* Among the eighteen rulers of India included in the scheme of Sir 
William Hunter only five are natives of India, and of these the great 
Ijtfadhoji Sindhia is, with the exception of Akbar, the most illustrious. 
Mr. H. G. Keene, a well-known and skilful writer on Indian questions, 
is fortunate in his subject, for the career of the greatest bearer of the 
historic name of Sindhia covered the exciting period from the capture of 
Delhi, the Imperial capital, by the Persian Nadir Shah, to the occupation 
of the same city by Lord Lake. . . . Mr. Keene gives a lucid description 
of his subsequent policy, especially towards the English when he was 
brought face to face with Warren Hastings/ — The Daily Graphic. 

©pinions of tbe Press 



Third Edition. Fourth Thousand. 

* In " Clyde and Strathnairn," a contribution to Sir William Hunter's 
excellent " Rulers of India" series (Oxford, at the Clarendon Press), 
Sir Owen Burne gives a lucid sketch of the military history of the 
Indian Mutiny and its suppression by the two great soldiers who give 
their names to his book. The space is limited for so large a theme, but 
Sir Owen Burne skilfully adjusts his treatment to his limits, and rarely 
violates the conditions of proportion imposed upon him. . . . Sir Owen 
Burne does not confine himself exclusively to the military narrative. 
He gives a brief sketch of the rise and progress of the Mutiny, and 
devotes a chapter to the Reconstruction which followed its suppression. 
. . . — well written, well proportioned, and eminently worthy of the 
series to which it belongs.' — The Times. 

1 Sir Owen Burne who, by association, experience, and relations with 
one of these generals, is well qualified for the task, writes with know- 
ledge, perspicuity, and fairness.' — Saturday Review. 

' As a brief record of a momentous epoch in India this little book is 
a remarkable piece of clear, concise, and interesting writing.' — The 
Colonies and India. 

'Sir Owen Burne has written this book carefully, brightly, and 
with excellent judgement, and we in India cannot read such a book 
without feeling that he has powerfully aided the accomplished editor 
of the series in a truly patriotic enterprise.' — Bombay Gazette. 

'The volume on "Clyde and Strathnairn" has just appeared, and 
proves to be a really valuable addition to the series. Considering its 
size and the extent of ground it covers it is one of the best books about 
the Indian Mutiny of which we know.' — Englishman. 

' Sir Owen Burne, who has written the latest volume for Sir William 
Hunter's " Rulers of India " series, is better qualified than any living 
person to narrate, from a military standpoint, the story of the suppres- 
sion of the Indian Mutiny/ — Daily Telegraph. 

'Sir Owen Burne's book on "Clyde and Strathnairn" is worthy to 
rank with the best in the admirable series to which it belongs.'— 
Manchester Examiner. 

*The book is admirably written; and there is probably no better 
sketch, equally brief, of the stirring events with which it deals.' 
— Scotsman. 

' Sir Owen Burne, from the part he played in the Indian Mutiny, and 
from his long connexion with the Government of India, and from the 
fact that he was military secretary of Lord Strathnairn both in India 
and in Ireland, is well qualified for the task which he has undertaken,' — 
The Athenaeum. 

©pimon0 of t&e Pre00 



Second Edition. Third Thousand. 

' An exception to the rule that biographies ought not to be entrusted 
to near relatives. Lord Hardinge, a scholar and an artist, has given 
us an accurate record of his father's long and distinguished services. 
There is no filial exaggeration. The author has dealt with some con- 
troversial matters with skill, and has managed to combine truth with 
tact and regard for the feelings of others.' — The Saturday Review, 

'This interesting life reveals the first Lord Hardinge as a brave, 
just, able man, the very soul of honour, admired and trusted equally 
by friends and political opponents. The biographer . . . has produced a 
most engaging volume, which is enriched by many private and official 
documents that have not before seen the light.' — The Anti-Jacobin. 

' Lord Hardinge has accomplished a grateful, no doubt, but, from 
the abundance of material and delicacy of certain matters, a very 
difficult task in a workmanlike manner, marked by restraint and 
lucidity.'— The Pall Mall Gazette, 

1 His son and biographer has done his work with a true appreciation 
of proportion, and has added substantially to our knowledge of the 
Sutlej Campaign.' — Vanity Fair, 

'The present Lord Hardinge is in some respects exceptionally well 
qualified to tell the tale of the eventful four years of his father's 
Governor-Generalship.' — The Times. 

'It contains a full account of everything of importance in Lord 
Hardinge's military and political career ; it is arranged ... so as to 
bring into special prominence his government of India ; and it gives 
a lifelike and striking picture of the man.' — Academy. 

' The style is clear, the treatment dispassionate, and the total result 
a manual which does credit to the interesting series in which it figures.' 
— The Globe. 

1 The concise and vivid account which the son has given of his 
father's career will interest many readers.' — The Morning Post. 

' Eminently readable for everybody. The history is given succinctly, 
and the unpublished letters quoted are of real value.' — The Colonies 
and India. 

1 Compiled from public documents, family papers, and letters, this 
brief biography gives the reader a clear idea of what Hardinge was, 
both as a aoldier and as an administrator.' — The Manchester Examiner, 

' An admirable sketch.' — The New York Herald. 

1 The Memoir is well and concisely written, and is accompanied by 
an excellent likeness after the portrait by Sir Francis Grant.' — The 

©pinions of t&e Ipres* 




Third Edition. Fourth Thousand. 

'Sir Henry Cunningham's rare literary skill and his knowledge 
of Indian life and affairs are not now displayed for the first time, 
and he has enjoyed exceptional advantages in dealing with his 
present subject. Lord Granville, Canning's contemporary at school 
and colleague in public life and one of his oldest friends, furnished his 
biographer with notes of his recollections of the early life of his friend. 
Sir Henry Cunningham has also been allowed access to the Diary of 
Canning's private secretary, to the Journal of his military secretary, 
and to an interesting correspondence between the Governor-General 
and his great lieutenant, Lord Lawrence.' — The Times. 

1 Sir H. S. Cunningham has succeeded in writing the history of a 
critical period in so fair and dispassionate a manner as to make it 
almost a matter of astonishment that the motives which he has so 
clearly grasped should ever have been misinterpreted, and the results 
which he indicates so grossly misjudged. Nor is the excellence of his 
work less conspicuous from the literary than from the political and 
historical point of view.' — Glasgow Herald. 

1 Sir H. S. Cunningham has treated his subject adequately. In vivid 
language he paints his word-pictures, and with calm judicial analysis 
he also proves himself an able critic of the actualities, causes, and results 
of the outbreak, also a temperate, just appreciator of the character and 
policy of Earl Canning/ — The Court Journal, 


Second Edition. Third Thousand. 

' Mr. Hutton has brought to his task an open mind, a trained 
historical judgement, and a diligent study of a great body of original 
material. Hence he is enabled to present a true, authentic, and 
original portrait of one of the greatest of Anglo-Indian statesmen, 
doing full justice to his military policy and achievements, and also to 
his statesmanlike efforts for the organization and consolidation of that 
Empire which he did so much to sustain.' — Times. 

'To the admirable candour and discrimination which characterize 
Mr. Hutton's monograph as an historical study must be added the 
literary qualities which distinguish it and make it one of the most 
readable volumes of the series. The st}de is vigorous and picturesque, 
and the arrangement of details artistic in its just regard for proportion 
and perspective. In short, there is no point of view from which the work 
deserves anything but praise/ — Glasgow Herald. 

* The Rev. W. H. Hutton has done his work well, and achieves with 
force and lucidity the task he sets himself: to show how, under 
Wellesley, the Indian company developed and ultimately became the 
supreme power in India. To our thinking his estimate of this great 
statesman is most just.' — Black and White. 

' Mr. Hutton has told the story of Lord Wellesley's life in an admir- 
able manner, and has provided a most readable book.' — Manchester 

' Mr. Hutton' s range of information is wide, his division of subjects 
appropriate, and his diction scholarly and precise.' — Saturday Beview, 

©pinions of t&e press 



Thikd Edition. Fourth Thousand. 

' We can thoroughly praise Sir Lepel Griffin's work as an accurate 
and appreciative account of the beginnings and growth of the Sikh 
religion and of the temporal power founded upon it by a strong and 
remorseless chieftain.' — The Times. 

1 Sir Lepel Griffin treats his topic with thorough mastery, and his 
account of the famous Maharaja* and his times is, consequently, one of 
the most valuable as well as interesting volumes of the series of which 
it forms a part.' — The Globe. 

f From first to last it is a model of what such a work should be, and 
a classic. ' — The St. Stephen' 's Review. 

1 The monograph could not have been entrusted to more capable 
hands than those of Sir Lepel Griffin, who spent his official life in the 
Punjaub.' — The Scotsman. 

' At once the shortest and best history of the rise and fall of the 
Sikh monarchy.' — The North British Daily Mail. 

1 Not only a biography of the Napoleon of the East, but a luminous 
picture of his country ; the chapter on Sikh Theocracy being a notable 
example of compact thought.' — The Liverpool Mercury, 


Second Edition. Third Thousand. 

'The u Rulers of India" series has received a valuable addition in 
the biography of the late Lord William Bentinck. The subject of this 
interesting memoir was a soldier as well as a statesman. He was 
mainly instrumental in bringing about the adoption of the overland 
route and in convincing the people of India that a main factor in Eng- 
lish policy was a disinterested desire for their welfare. Lord William's 
despatches and minutes, several of which are textually reproduced in 
Mr. Boulger's praiseworthy little book, display considerable literary 
skill and are one and all State papers of signal worth.' — Daily Tele- 

1 Mr. Boulger is no novice in dealing with Oriental history and 
Oriental affairs, and in the career of Lord William Bentinck he has 
found a theme very much to his taste, which he treats with adequate 
knowledge and literary skill.' — The Times. 

* Mr. Boulger writes clearly and well, and his volume finds an ac- 
cepted place in the very useful and informing series which Sir William 
Wilson Hunter is editing so ably.' — Independent. 

©pinions of tbe press 



Second Edition. Third Thousand. 

1 Sir William Hunter, the editor of the series to which this book 
belongs, was happily inspired when he entrusted the Life of Elphin- 
stone, one of the most scholarly of Indian rulers, to Mr. Cotton, who, 
himself a scholar of merit and repute, is brought by the nature of his 
daily avocations into close and constant relations with scholars. . . . We 
live in an age in which none but specialists can afford to give more time 
to the memoirs of even the most distinguished Anglo-Indians than will 
be occupied by reading Mr. Cotton's two hundred pages. He has per- 
formed his task with great skill and good sense. This is just the kind 
of Life of himself which the wise, kindly, high-souled man, who is the 
subject of it, would read with pleasure in the Elysian Fields.' — Sir M. 
E. Grant Duff, in The Academy. 

1 To so inspiring a theme few writers are better qualified to do ample 
justice than the author of "The Decennial Statement of the Moral and 
Material Progress and Condition of India/' Sir T. Colebrooke's larger 
biography of Elphinstone appeals mainly to Indian specialists, but 
Mr. Cotton's slighter sketch is admirably adapted to satisfy the growing 
demand for a knowledge of Indian history and of the personalities of 
Anglo-Indian statesmen which Sir William Hunter has done so much 
to create.' — The Times. 


' A most valuable, compact and interesting memoir for those looking 
forward to or engaged in the work of Indian administration.' — Scotsman. 

' It is a careful and sympathetic survey of a life which should always 
serve as an example to the Indian soldier and civilian.' — Yorkshire Post. 

'A true and vivid record of Munro's life-work in almost auto- 
biographical form.' — Glasgow Herald. 

' Of the work before us we have nothing but praise. The story of 
Munro's career in India is in itself of exceptional interest and im- 
portance/ — Freeman's Journal. 

' The work could not have been better done ; it is a monument of 
painstaking care, exhaustive research, and nice discrimination.' — People. 

'This excellent and spirited little monograph catches the salient 
points of Munro's career, and supplies some most valuable quotations 
from his writings and papers/ — Manchester Guardian, 

4 It would be impossible to imagine a more attractive and at the 
same time instructive book about India/ — Liverpool Courier. 

* It is one of the best volumes of this excellent series/ — Imperial and 
Asiatic Quarterly Review. 

1 The book throughout is arranged in an admirably clear manner and 
there is evident on every page a desire for truth, and nothing but the 
truth/ — Commerce. 

1 A clear and scholarly piece of work.' — Indian Journal of Education* 

©pinto of t&e Ipress 



Second Edition. Third Thousand. 

1 Mr. Stephens' able and instructive monograph . . . We may commend 
Mr. Morse Stephens' volume, both as an adequate summary of an 
important period in the history of the relations between Asia and 
Europe, and as a suggestive treatment of the problem of why Portugal 
failed and England succeeded in founding an Indian Empire.' — The 

1 Mr. H. Morse Stephens has made a very readable book out of the 
foundation of the Portuguese power in India. According to the 
practice of the series to which it belongs it is called a life of Affonso de 
Albuquerque, but the Governor is only the central and most important 
figure in a brief history of the Portuguese in the East down to the time 
when the Dutch and English intruded on their preserves ... A plea- 
santly-written and trustworthy book on an interesting man and time.' 
— The Saturday Review. 

' Mr. Morse Stephens' Albuquerque is a solid piece of work, well put 
together, and full of interest.' — The Athenceum. 

1 Mr. Morse Stephens' studies in Indian and Portuguese history have 
thoroughly well qualified him for approaching the subject . . . He has 
presented the facts of Albuquerque's career, and sketched the events 
marking the rule of his predecessor Almeida, and of his immediate 
successors in the Governorship and Viceroyalty of India in a compact, 
lucid, and deeply interesting form.' — The Scotsman. 


Third Edition. Fourth Thousand. 
' No man knows the policy, principles, and character of John 
Lawrence better than Sir Charles Aitchison. The salient features 
and vital principles of his work as a ruler, first in the Punjab, and 
afterwards as Viceroy, are set forth with remarkable clearness.' — 

' A most admirable sketch of the great work done by Sir John 
Lawrence, who not only ruled India, but saved it.' — Manchester 

* Sir Charles Aitchison's narrative is uniformly marked by directness, 
order, clearness, and grasp ; it throws additional light into certain 
nooks of Indian affairs ; and it leaves upon the mind a very vivid 
and complete impression of Lord Lawrence's vigorous, resourceful, 
discerning, and valiant personality.' — Newcastle Daily Chronicle. 

' Sir Charles knows the Punjab thoroughly, and has made this little 
book all the more interesting by his account of the Punjab under John 
Lawrence and his subordinates.' — Yorkshire Post 

©pinions of tbe Press; 



Second Edition. Third Thousand. 
1 Mr. Bowring's portraits are just, and his narrative of the continuous 
military operations of the period full and accurate.' — Times. 

* The story hag been often written, but never better or more con- 
cisely than here, where the father and son are depicted vividly and 
truthfully " in their habit as they lived." There is not a volume of 
the whole series which is better done than this, or one which shows 
greater insight/ — Daily Chronicle. 

1 Mr. Bowring has been well chosen to write this memorable history, 
because he has had the best means of collecting it, having himself 
formerly been Chief Commissioner of Mysore. The account of the 
Mysore war is well done, and Mr. Bowring draws a stirring picture of 
our determined adversary.' — Army and Navy Gazette. 

1 An excellent example of compression and precision. Many volumes 
might be written about the long war in Mysore, and we cannot but 
admire the skill with which Mr. Bowring has condensed the history of 
the struggle. His book is as terse and concise as a book can be.' — 
North British Daily Mail. 

* Mr. Bowring's book is one of the freshest and best of a series most 
valuable to all interested in the concerns of the British Empire in the 
East.'— English Mail. 

* The story of the final capture of Seringapatam is told with skill 
and graphic power by Mr. Bowring, who throughout the whole work 
shows himself a most accurate and interesting historian.' — Perthshire 


• Second Edition. Third Thousand. 

1 This book gives a spirited and accurate sketch of a very extra- 
ordinary personality.' — Speaker. 

1 Colonel Malleson writes a most interesting account of Clive's great 
work in India — so interesting that, having begun to read it, one is 
unwilling to lay it aside until the last page has been reached. The 
character of Clive as a leader of men, and especially as a cool, intrepid, 
and resourceful general, is ably described ; and at the same time the 
author never fails to indicate the far-reaching political schemes which 
inspired the valour of Clive and laid the foundation of our Indian 
Empire.' — North British Daily Mail. 

i This monograph is admirably written by one thoroughly acquainted 
and in love with his subject.' — Glasgow Herald. 

1 No one is better suited than Colonel Malleson to write on Clive, 
and he has performed his task with distinct success. The whole narra- 
tive is, like everything Colonel Malleson writes, clear and full of 
vigour.' — Yorkshire Post. 

1 Colonel Malleson is reliable and fair, and the especial merit of his 
book is that it always presents a clear view of the whole of the vast 
theatre in which Clive gradually produces such an extraordinary change 
of scene.' — Newcastle Daily Chronicle, 

Dptntons of tfre Press 



*A vivid account of the causes, conduct, and consequences of "the 
costly, fruitless, and unrighteous" Afghan War of 1838/ — St. James's 

'To write such a monograph was a thankless task, but it has been 
accomplished with entire success by Captain L. J. Trotter. He has 
dealt calmly and clearly with Lord Auckland's policy, domestic and 
military, with its financial results, and with the general tendency of 
Lord Auckland's rule.' — Yorkshire Post. 

'To this distressing story (of the First Afghan War) Captain Trotter 
devotes the major portion of his pages. He tells it well and forcibly ; 
but is drawn, perhaps unavoidably, into the discussion of many topics 
of controversy which, to some readers, may seem to be hardly as yet 
finally decided. ... It is only fair to add that two chapters are devoted 
to " Lord Auckland's Domestic Policy," and to his relations with 
"The Native States of India." '— The Times. 

* Captain Trotter's Earl of Auckland is a most interesting book, and 
its excellence as a condensed, yet luminous, history of the first Afghan 
War deserves warm recognition.' — Scotsman. 

1 It points a moral which our Indian Rulers cannot afford to forget 
so long as they still have Russia and Afghanistan to count with.' — 
Glasgow Herald. 

Supplementary Volume : price 3s. 6d. 


' Sir R. Temple's book possesses a high value as a dutiful and 
interesting memorial of a man of lofty ideals, whose exploits were 
none the less memorable because achieved exclusively in the field 
of peaceful administration.' — Times. 

' It is the peculiar distinction of this work that it interests a reader 
less in the official than in the man himself.' — Scotsman. 

1 This is a most interesting book : to those who know India, and 
knew the man, it is of unparalleled interest, but no one who has 
the Imperial instinct which has taught the English to rule subject 
races "for their own welfare" can fail to be struck by the simple 
greatness of this character.' — Pall Mall Gazette. 

1 Mr. Thomason was a great Indian statesman. He systematized 
the revenue system of the North- West Provinces, and improved every 
branch of the administration. He was remarkable, like many great 
Indians, for the earnestness of his religious faith, and Sir Richard 
Temple brings this out in an admirable manner.' — British Weekly. 

1 The book is " a portrait drawn by the hand of affection," of one 
whose life was " a pattern of how a Christian man ought to live." 
Special prominence is given to the religious aspects of Mr. Thomason's 
character, and the result is a very readable biographical sketch.' — 

©pinions of tfce press 



1 The concluding volume of Sir William Hunter's admirable " Rulers 
of India" series is devoted to a biography of John Russell Colvin. 
Mr. Colvin, as private secretary to Lord Auckland, the Governor- 
General during the first Afghan War, and as Lieutenant-Governor of 
the North-West Provinces during the Mutiny, bore a prominent part 
in the government of British India at two great crises of its history. 
His biographer is his son, Sir Auckland Colvin, who does full justice to 
his father's career and defends him stoutly against certain allegations 
which have passed into history. ... It is a valuable and effective 
contribution to an admirable series. In style and treatment of its 
subject it is well worthy of its companions.' — Times. 

' The story of John Colvin's career indicates the lines on which the 
true history of the first Afghan War and of the Indian Mutiny should 
be written. . . . Not only has the author been enabled to make use 
of new and valuable material, but he has also constructed therefrom 
new and noteworthy explanations of the position of affairs at two turning- 
points in Indian history.' — Academy. 

1 High as is the standard of excellence attained by the volumes of 
this series, Sir Auckland Colvin's earnest work has reached the high- 
water mark.' — Army and Navy Gazette. 

Sir Auckland Colvin gives us an admirable study of his subject, both 
as a man of affairs and as a student in private life. In doing this, his 
picturesque theme allows him, without outstepping the biographical 
limits assigned, to present graphic pictures of old Calcutta and Indian 
life in general.' — Manchester Courier. 

' This little volume contains pictures of India, past and present, which 
it would be hard to match for artistic touch and fine feeling. We wish 
there were more of the same kind to follow.' — St. James's Gazette. 


' An admirable account of the work done by one of the greatest and 
most nobble of the men who have adorned our Indian Empire. . . . No 
man is better qualified to write about the defence of the Residency than 
General Innes.' ; — Athenaeum. 

1 We can cordially recommend this account of the modern Christian 
hero.' — Academy. 

c A sympathetic sketch. General Innes tells his story with soldierly 
brevity and a sturdy belief in his hero.' — Times. 

'The lessons taught by Sir Henry Lawrence's work in India are, 
perhaps, at this moment as deserving of serious reflection as at any time 
since his death. We welcome this excellent little biography of the 
great soldier-civilian by a distinguished officer of exceptional knowledge 
and experience.' — Daily News. 

' This book is a very good memoir, as nearly as possible what a book 
of the kind should be/ — Scotsman. 

Keene, Henry George 

idhava Rao Sindhda and 
M3K/+ the Hindu reconquest of India